When I was a kid I found a lot of ways to earn a little extra spending money. Often it was doing something none of my other friends would take on. I did lots of things none of my other friends would do. That’s why I would classify myself as being a little weird. One way that I made a little extra cash was to sell fish. No, I wasn’t going up and down the street selling catfish fillets or anything like that. I was selling pretty little fish that look nice in an aquarium. We had gotten a small aquarium and stocked it with standard fare, sword-tails, angel fish, catfish and guppies. The guppies were Fan Tailed Guppies to be exact. Maybe that isn’t exact but that is what the tag on the tank said at the place we bought them. Those guppies must have loved being in our tank because they decided to start a family in there. In fact, they started several families. They added to the family at a fast and furious pace.
I would remove the tiny fish from the big aquarium and place them in a smaller aquarium where the larger fish couldn’t eat them. There they grew quickly and soon I had more guppies than I knew what to do with. I decided that the pet store in town must buy guppies from someone so why wouldn’t they buy them from me? I loaded my guppies up in a giant jar and headed into town. The owner of the pet store was surprised to see a junior high kid show up with a gallon jar full of guppies but he was actually glad to get those guppies. He gave me twenty-five cents a piece for them. Well, most of them, one of them earned me a dollar. He pointed out that these fish should be green and transition to a dark color with a tail that is a pastel. All of my fish were like that. He also pointed out that most of my fish had spots on the wide tail. They weren’t worth as much as the one fish that had no spots on the tail. He told me to keep some fish each time that had fewer and fewer spots until I was breeding with better guppies and pretty soon I would have schools and schools of fish with spotless tails. I did as he said and for quite a while we did business. I brought him perfect guppies and he was always glad to get them.
Being willing to perfect what I was bringing to the store owner brought me greater rewards. I could have kept bringing twenty-five cent guppies to the store and he would have been glad to get them. They would sell. But he knew which ones had more value. So by following his instructions I got more money. If I hadn’t gotten good advice and followed it I would have gone on and on doing the same amount of work for less reward.
Philippians 3:12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
Every day I bring an offering to the Lord. For a long time it was minimal. I would give up a quick prayer at meal time, a glance at an email with a devotional sent by a friend, a hello to someone that needs to talk, always a little something here or there but usually not much. I was giving God guppies with tails full of spots. They were worth something but they weren’t worth much. God deserves so much more from me.
I expect God to honor His covenant with me and to save me from the fate I deserve. I want Him to lead me and guide me in a way that protects me from harm. I stand on the promises He has made to me to provide all I need. But when it comes to giving my life back to Him and offering myself as a living sacrifice I grudgingly give Him far less than He deserves. What I say and do is an offering before God weather I want to admit it or not. What am I placing before Him?
Psalm 51:16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
God has covered my sins in the blood of His Son. So why are the things I do riddled with imperfection? I think it is because I have been satisfied just to offer the minimum. I know that within me I cannot achieve perfection but I can remove many blemishes from the actions I perform throughout the day. I can make my life an offering to God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Colossians 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
I have to strive for perfection in the offerings I make to the Lord. They can eventually be pure and spotless. They can be the best they can be.
As for my rewards, I have to admit I simply do not understand them. God has made numerous promises of blessings while we are here on the earth. The rewards are heavenly and I just can’t comprehend what could be perceived as a reward, something that could still have value and that I would still desire, while I am standing before the Lord. Yet God promises us these things and I will some day understand.
Revelation 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.”
God, I have failed to give you my best. Help me to see that what I offer you today is not good enough for tomorrow. I have held back and desire to give everything to You. Amen.