When Leftovers Won't Do

He designed flying machines centuries before there was flight. He created the first textbook of human anatomy. He was one of the first to propose that the earth rotated around the sun. He was a musician, an inventor, and the painter who gave us the Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance Man. One of his early biographers said:

Many men and women are born with various remarkable qualities and talents, but occasionally a single person is endowed by heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind. [1]

Leonardo was a person of enormous talent who understood that wasted talent insulted God. He said, "I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have."[2] Da Vinci knew that God deserves our best! This is God's message to Israel in the book of Malachi:

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised.When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts....Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.  Malachi 1:6-8;14 ESV

Israel was practicing a nasty habit of giving God their leftovers. Their reasoning went like this: "Why waste a perfectly good lamb on the altar when I could use a crippled or diseased one instead? God gets the sacrifice and I get rid of some of my undesirable flock." It was the religious version of killing two birds with one stone – and it irritated God!

God is your maker. He deserves your best. Is he getting it?

Is God getting your best effort at work, your best thinking in the classroom, your best gift in the offering plate, your best service at church, your best love for your spouse, your best time and talents, your best devotion?

Leonardo da Vinci knew the Master deserved the masterpiece. How will you honor God with your best today?


[1] Giorgio Vasari, quoted in Fritjof Capra, 2008, The Science of Leonardo. p. 16.

[2] Bülent Atalay, Keith Wamsley,Leonardo's Universe: The Renaissance World of Leonardo DaVinci, p. 277.