By David J. Halter
When I was a small boy growing up in West Tennessee we would travel almost every weekend to my grandfather’s farm in the west central Tennessee hills. I used to look forward to these trips because of the thrill of the outdoors. My brothers, cousins and I would spend endless days and hours exploring the woodlands and hills around grandfather’s farm.
As with most farmers, Daddy Joe Halter raised a variety of crops and farm animals such as corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, cotton, hogs, chickens and milk cows. One Saturday, grandma Halter had her boys catch an old rooster to butcher for Sunday dinner. Two of my daddy’s brothers, teenagers then, caught that old rooster and wrung his neck and then turned him loose in the yard. What a sight for my eyes! A chicken running around without his head!
One of the things my grandfather did was to keep several 5 gallon buckets on the back porch for table scraps. They were called “slop buckets.” Everything went into those buckets that could not be used for food. Nothing was wasted because money was hard to scrape out of those old sand and clay Tennessee hills.
About the most exciting part of a day was to watch Daddy Joe take the “slop buckets” to the hog pen and feed the hogs. Those hogs would fight, push, shove and bite in order to get the “slop.” The tenacity, ferociousness and meanness of those hogs has never left my memory.
That old hog story has a lesson for us today when it comes to our service for God. In the Old Testament book of Malachi, we find God accusing the children of Israel of violating his laws concerning offerings:
Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the Lord (Mal. 1:7-8).
The Law of Moses specifically prohibited the offering of animals which were blemished in any way (Lev. 22:21-22). The children of Israel were to offer to God only the best of what they have been blessed with.
In our worship of God today in the church, he expects no less of Christians.
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
Too often we offer in worship that which is blemished. Sometimes folks are too tired (from running around Saturday nights and every other night); too busy with earthly pursuits; out of money to give to God liberally, to give to God scripturally (Jn. 4:23,24; Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 11:27-30).
In closing, let me just say this about the hogs and the Lord. Those hogs were glad to get table scraps, God isn’t!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 13, p. 399
July 4, 1991