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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making A Sacrifice

Mother Teresa once rightly noted that, “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.” As one prepares to give they should remember that scriptural giving must be sacrificial. This means that in order for an act of giving to have meaning you must be giving something up in order to be able to give. This is perhaps the most difficult for members of the Lord’s church who live in a blessed nation such as the United States to understand, but sacrificial giving is something that Christians need to work on in order for their relationship with God to mature. A great example of this principle is found in the life of King David. David was going to erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor which belonged to Araunah the Jebusite. When David came to Araunah and told him that he had come to build an altar, Araunah basically told David that he could have whatever he wanted for no cost. David replied in 2 Samuel 24:24, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” David understood that if the sacrifice did not cost him anything then it really didn’t have any meaning. When you make your offering to the Lord on the first day of the week, what are you saying to the Lord about what you are willing to give up for His sake? If you were to take your contribution for an entire month, what could you do with it? If you were to take your contribution for an entire year, what could you do with it? What are you sacrificing for the Lord?
A young executive graduated from college with honors and went to work for a prestigious accounting firm. Things were going well. He was making a good amount of money for someone just out of college. As he drove to work each morning, he noticed that his coworkers who were making the same salary as him were driving much nicer vehicles. He struggled to understand why he was stuck driving a car with pealing paint and a knocking engine, while they were driving luxury vehicles. Were they just that much better at managing their money? He struggled with this until finally he realized why there was a difference in their cars,- he was giving liberally to the Lord’s Church on the first day of every week, and his coworkers, even some he worshipped with, were not. His contribution easily would have covered the payments on a new car, but he had something more important to do with his money.
The sacrifice is what gives the contribution meaning. Your willingness to give something up for God is a direct statement about how much you value Him. What are you giving up for God? If worshippers of the Lord will determine that God is the most important aspect of their lives (Mt.6:33) and they are willing to demonstrate that through their sacrifices on the first day of the week, then they will truly be worshipping God. These sacrifices will be hard to make, wherein lies the meaning, but if we will make them off the top from the first fruits it will keep us from just giving God the leftovers in our lives.