“The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.” (Exodus 12:5 NIV84)
A 1-year-old lamb or goat was a small price to pay for the protection of your firstborn child. This is what God asked of every Israelite family on the day of the Passover. In appreciation for His grace He expected the very best. It would have been shamefully embarrassing to offer the Lord a lame or defective animal. What would that ultimately say about people’s perspective of God’s grace and protection upon their firstborn? All future generations, though they were not at risk of losing their firstborn, were called to be equally vigilant. They, too, were called to give of their best in gratitude for God’s grace and mercy.
But when we read the later prophets, we see that things got really bad. People began to see the Passover and other sacrifices as simply rituals to fulfill. They actually did begin to bring their sick, lame and defective animals to the temple as sacrifices to God. This happened because they lost sight of God’s grace. They saw the demand but lost the reason and motivation behind the demand. They were no longer giving of their best, because they were no longer responding in gratitude that God had given of His best.
What about us? What about our stewardship of time, talents and treasures? Have we lost the motivation of gratitude? Have we lost sight of God’s grace? Are we giving anything less than our best? If so, stop and take a moment to look at the cross. See in Jesus’ life and death, God giving of His best. May a renewed view of God’s grace cause us, out of gratitude, to offer back to God our very best!