Inspired by 1 Samuel 15:10-31
“And Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the LORD? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.’” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NRSV)
Discerning the will of God is rarely easy, but with steadfastness and self-discipline in keeping God foremost in our hearts and minds it can be done.
But sometimes we don’t want to. Following God usually involves some degree of self-sacrifice or self-denial, and sometimes we just want what we want when we want it. So we don’t consider God in our decisions and we do what seems right in our own eyes. Sometimes our actions seem to pay off and we have more money, more esteem, more ‘success’ as the world defines it. But wanting to be good Christians, we try to spin it such that we did what we did in order to better honor God by giving more money or stuff to church or other charities. But it’s as if we’re saying, “Look, Lord, I did it on my own without you, and look how we both get to benefit!”
While helping others through church ministries and charities is good, God doesn’t want us to do it on our own. He wants our hearts and our minds, not our stuff, and he wants us to walk in relationship with him, open and obedient to his will. When we’re truly walking with God, the benefits to us and to all of his creation are far greater than a few extra dollars in the offering plate.
Let us pray. God of wisdom, you walk with us, guiding our ways. Help us to follow you, that our service might reap benefits for others in ways that are beyond our ability to imagine. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.