Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you. (Ps. 50:14–15)

A LESSON I’VE LEARNED as a dad is to be specific when giving instructions. If I tell one of my kids to “take out the garbage,” I can be sure there will be no garbage bag in the can the next time I go into the kitchen. Why? Because I didn’t say “and replace it with a new bag.” My kids either haven’t worked out how to make such inferences, or they’re just playing dumb to get away with less work. (I’m leaning toward the latter.) I could do it myself, but they need to learn the importance of contributing to the family.

In Psalm 50, God accused His children of similar misconduct. The issue wasn’t that they hadn’t been sacrificing. The problem was that they hadn’t been doing it properly. It wasn’t that God needed their help. The Almighty is pretty far up there on the list of beings who are self-sustaining. Sacrifices symbolized the price to be paid for their sin. They were serving God with their ritual, but they weren’t completing the task with their commitment to living for Him and counting on Him for their salvation. They were trusting in their service—not in the One they were serving—to save them.

God calls you to serve Him with your time and talents. See the job through by serving Him with your heart as well.

Examine your heart in how you serve Jesus and give it a tweak if necessary.

Dave Knickerbocker is a church planter and aspiring writer from northeast Ohio.