As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
If you have never taken the time to read Ecclesiastes, then you should. It is a great book, written by the wisest man who ever lived. Solomon has spent his life studying the life of man, and he comes to the end and shares what he has learned. It can be a little depressing to hear his words, but there is so much truth in it. I especially love this verse, because I have lived the opposite way for so long. We get in our minds how we would like our lives to go, that we tune out the guiding of God. He may ask us for something specific, and we offer him something else entirely. I can't count the number of times I have added a but to my prayers. God doesn't ask for too much, when you look at all he has given us. The call of God can be a shocking thing to our culture today. We have become so self-centered as a culture that the idea to surrender our will to another is unspeakable. Our pastor has been teaching in Mark the last few weeks. He has confronted us with the truth of the call of Christ. Christ didn't call us to come to him half-heartedly. He has called us to come and die. That is why baptism is such a powerful symbol. Our old way is to die at the cross with Jesus. How many of us come to Jesus, and then continue to live in the old way? We hang onto the old desires and the old ways of thinking. It is that old way of thinking that brings out all the buts in our prayers. When we come to God we have to shut our mouths and just listen to what he is trying to say to us. So we need to come into his presence and put aside all of our buts, and just listen.