Have you received a beautiful gift from someone and thought, “Instead of this, I would rather have had a chance to sit and talk to you for a couple hours” or, “I would rather you showed by your words and actions that you respect and love me”?
God says something similar in Psalm 50: “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens. ‘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, and you will honor me’” (verses 9,14,15). Rather than a showy sacrifice, God would love a real relationship with you where you talk with each other and do things for each other in an exchange of gratitude, love, and trust.
God deeply desires a sincere relationship with you and me. Everything else is meaningless if it isn’t from a heart that loves God above all else.
What if we don’t know if we love God in this way? What if we suspect that we don’t love God in this way but we would like to change?
We learn to love someone in a steadfast way by spending time with them, listening and responding with interest to what they tell us about themselves. Similarly, the more time we spend with our Lord, the better we will know him and come to love him with a deep and grateful heart and worship him in an honest way that will delight him.