Posts Tagged offering

The Gift

Matthew 5: 23

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar . . ..

This week I wish to bring you Christmas themed messages. I have been especially touched through Christmas songs and movies this year. One of my traditions is to gorge on Christmas music and I love, also, to watch the old Christmas cartoons of my youth. I find such beauty and inspiration in their simple but profound messages. Today, I want to tell you the story of the song, “The Gift.”

The story goes that a young orphan girl was on her way to the market when she stopped by the roadside to rest. There, where she paused, she found a small bird which had a broken wing. Maria, picked up the little bird and carried it with her to the market where she spent her last peso buying a cage for a home and corn to feed it. Over time, the little bird grew stronger and under Maria’s kind ministrations, healed.

This was the time of Christmas and everyone in the town made their way to the manger, offerings gifts of love and adoration to the baby king. Maria, poor and without resources was embarrassed that she had no gift worthy of the king. She waited until just before midnight to go in when no one would see her. As she knelt at the manger she cried for “her gift was unworthy of him,” but then a voice out of the darkness spoke to her. “Maria, what you brings you to me? If the bird in the cage is your offering, open the door let me see.” Maria opened the cage door and the little bird took flight on its healed wing. Just then the midnight bells tolled, and the little bird began to sing. The song was beautiful beyond words, a song fit for a king. This is the story of the very first Nightingale’s Song.

I was struck, as perhaps you were, of Maria’s desire to present an offering worthy of the king. Perhaps you too are grieved, as am I, that you have no offering worthy of our beloved Jesus. All we have to offer him is ourselves. In my heart I know my offering is a gift less worthy than a little bird. My offering is so insignificant that it is embarrassing to lay at the feet of the savior and king. And yet, it is all I have. As I recoil at the very thought of offering Jesus and the Father such a useless, unworthy gift, I am lifted by love Himself who says, “Thank you. This is the gift I have always wanted. The only one I wished for.”

His graciousness and acceptance is beyond humbling. He creates whole universes but the one thing He cannot get for Himself is my heart . . . and yours. If you want to give Father the one thing on His Christmas list this year, I know what it is. He wants us to strip away all of the trappings of who we are, what we do, our successes and our failures and just give Him our unadulterated hearts. He wants the heart of the child within you.

I pray that you will be overcome with the joy of the season and immersed in the love of the Father. I hope this week’s devotions will help you share your love with Jesus, the Father and with all people you come in contact with. May you be blessed beyond measure.

Cheery

2 Corinthians 9: 6 – 8

Each one must do (give) just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

God loves a cheerful giver. God is less concerned about one giving from the abundance of one’s purse than giving out of the abundance of one’s heart. He is less concerned with how much you give and more concerned with how you give. He wants you to give to Him and to His work because you love Him and because you want to give. He does not want you to feel compelled because there is some good work to give to. He certainly does not want your guilt offerings. In other words, He doesn’t want your gift to Him to be motivated by your guilty feelings. Give less if need be so that you can get happy. Make it a joyous occasion between you and the Lord. Take your eyes off of the person, church or ministry that you are sowing into and put your eyes and heart on the Lord. Let your gift be a blessing unto Him. Then you will really be happy.

Rejoice

1 Chronicles 29: 9

Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

What a beautiful passage of scripture. These people experienced much joy because their hearts were in their giving to the Lord. Did you know that giving offerings to the Lord could fill you with joy? Really, most of us enjoy giving. We just do not like to feel obligated or coerced to give. When we give freely to the Lord with our whole heart, it does make the heart glad. It is a personal giving between the person and the Lord and that sort of giving lifts the heart and countenance. I think some of us are grumpy because we hold on so tightly to our money or gifts. When we let them go freely, we elevate our own spirits. And I know that the Lord is overjoyed when we give to him out of the abundance of our hearts. It doesn’t have to be a big gift, just a joyful one.

Human Sacrifice

Romans 12: 1

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

This passage is so familiar that we often fail to look at the words. This isn’t just a call to present your body to God. There is more to it than that. This is a form of worship. It is part of our service to God. Note how urgently Paul entreats his followers. He seems to think this is very important. He tells us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. If I sacrifice my body to God’s service then that must mean that I am giving up some level of control. My body is no longer my own. Isn’t that right? We are no longer our own. We have been purchased with a price, the blood of Jesus (Revelation 5: 9). Further, this offering is meant to be a sacrifice which is acceptable to God. What does that mean? People have many answers to that question, you hopefully will find your own, but one way to think about it is that I will not take God’s body anywhere I should not. It also seems that it would mean that when I use this body, I use it in ways that are consistent with the Word of God. And I would mention that when we present our bodies to God it means that we give each part, all members of our bodies to God. That means even our tongues. What we say ought to edify the Father and His children.

I wish to give you one other perspective on giving your body to God. I recently made a long bike ride. In the last eight miles it started getting tough. Well, the Father and I have a running deal that the last three miles are His. He helps me through all the other miles but that last three are His alone. Well, with eight miles to go I started praying. I said, “Dad, it looks like you are going to have to take the last eight miles today.” That presented no problem to Him at all. I started releasing everything to Him and then I said, “Father, I give you my legs.” Wow! An epiphany went off in my head. I received a revelation of God’s healing and energizing power flowing into my legs and of Him using my legs to power that bike. I tell you I am getting thrilled again just writing to you about it.

When we present our bodies we need to present each and every part. Don’t just present your body as a whole. Give Him your eyes and then look out through those eyes with Him. Look at your hands and give them to Him. How does your back feel? Give Him your back. Give all to Him and what you will find is that He just multiplies your sacrifices and offerings back to you a hundredfold. I don’t know when we will ever let this hundredfold return on our offerings really sink in but it is right there in our bodies as well as our pocketbooks. Every time Dad demands an offering or a gift it is because He wants to do something for you. If you will give Him your body you will receive it back in much better working order. He has healing in His hands so whatever you put into His hands comes out with healing in it. Hey, that wouldn’t be bad for our pocketbooks either, would it?

Well, the moral of the story is that I had a great ride. I completed my first 50 mile bike ride ever and my average speed was as high as for a 25 mile ride. And that is not all. The next day I was not sore at all. In fact, I walked on the treadmill the next day. It wasn’t in my strength but, hallelujah, when I am weak, then I am strong. Think I will give the sacrifice of my body on the next ride.