The Honor of a King

Haftarah Portion: Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7)
Gospel Portion: Colossians 3:23-24, Mark 12:41-44
Commentary By: Chris Knight

‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?’ Says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:6-8 (NKJV)

In this passage of Malachi, we see a strong rebuke from God: where is the honor that belongs to God?! At this time in Israel’s history, the people were not treating the temple service with the reverence and honor that it was due. As we see from the passage, they were offering the lame, sick, blind, and defiled of their flock rather than the first and best of what they had. The people were keeping the finest of their herds to themselves, while offering God the leftovers. God then compares Himself to a master, a father, and a governor. He reminds us that this kind of treatment isn’t honorable or acceptable for our local authorities. So why would this be acceptable to Him?

Nowadays, we don’t bring our finest of the flocks and herds to His temple, but this rebuke applies to us today, nonetheless. Paul beautifully writes in his letter to the Colossians,

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

Paul points out that we serve the Lord Christ. We aren’t just serving a king of this world but the King of kings and Lord of lords, Yeshua. We are serving the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. Are we staying aware of Christ’s sovereignty in our lives when we go about our business? It is very easy for us as humans to be slack and complacent in our service to the Lord and to others. We often spend our greatest energy and resources on ourselves and our priorities first and then, if there might be anything leftover, we can give that to God or to others in need. We can have a tendency as humans to let God slip into the cracks of our busy, demanding, hectic lives rather than having Him as the priority and letting everything else fill in the gaps. I, personally, have been guilty of this time and time again. However, Yeshua wants our best. He is jealous for our love, our zeal, our priority.

This doesn’t mean it takes some monumental act to please Him. It doesn’t mean you need some grand, spectacular gesture of honor and service to be in His good graces. It just means that we are to give our all and our best in whatever we do for Him and for others. Even if we don’t have much to give, we give it with our whole heart. It reminds me so much of the famous story of the widow’s mite, where we read this:

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’ Mark 12:41-44 (NKJV)

So in whatever you give to the Lord, do it with all your heart and to the best of your ability. It’s not the quantity but the quality that matters. Our King is looking for those who will selflessly serve with a full, pure heart.