S (Scripture): Psalm 50:8 I am not condemning you because of your sacrifices,
or because of your burnt sacrifices that you continually offer me.
50:9 I do not need to take a bull from your household
or goats from your sheepfolds….
50:12 Even if I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all it contains belong to me.
50:13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
50:14 Present to God a thank-offering!
Repay your vows to the sovereign One!
O (Observation): Worship practices are sometimes described in Scripture, like today’s psalm. I love how the psalmist lifts up God’s voice here, regarding the worship practice of Offerings. God’s people are giving as a “sacrifice” to God. God doesn’t NEED the sacrifices… rather, God’s people are to give as a response of thanksgiving!
The people perhaps got into a routine of offering something to God as part of a quid-pro-quo system. I screwed up, so here is my penance. Or, I need a favor, God, here’s a little something I have for you…
What does work, however, is bringing an offering from a posture of thanksgiving. Let that be the simple practice of Offering.
A (Application): In our world, we look to give AND receive. And only BOTH! I look like a fool if I give to you, and you don’t give back. Or I look lazy if I don’t give you back something, if you’ve given me something.
In worship, we give to God because we celebrate what God has done, is doing, and will do in this world – not just what God will do with our congregation. If we thought Offering was a time of sacrifice (quid-pro-quo), it would be a very low point in the worship service.
Instead, I view the time of Offering as a high point in the service. We are trusting that God will bless those monies. We trust that the gift I give will be a blessing to my personal/household finances.
How do we know that last part is true? Couple of options:
- Ask others who are generous givers. Ask if they regret it.
- Just start giving 10% of your income. This is known as a “tithe,” a concept from the Old Testament. (Or increasing your gift towards the tithe mark.). Then, step back, and discern where God has surprised you.
- Look at your personal budget. Does every dollar have a purpose? Are you blowing through your finances and don’t know where the money is going? Classes like Financial Peace Univsersity are wonderful for helping to bring hope to people in the area of personal finances.
These are some real ways that you can engage in to find a new purpose for giving to God.
My wife and I have made the leap of faith to giving 10% of our income through our congregation and local charities, and we haven’t looked back since. We are happy to give thanks to our God, and we invite you to do the same, whether to church or charity or a local neighbor. Give, and you will receive blessing.
P (Prayer): God of Abundance, open our eyes to your generosity, and to giving out of joy, rather than sacrifice. Amen.