Day 7: Gift vs. Obedience

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

What is the difference between a gift and just being obedient?

Let’s look at the Old Testament first, and maybe we can answer this question.

There are five Levitical sacrifices and offerings listed in the Old Testament:  Sin sacrifice, trespass sacrifice, burnt offerings, peace/thanksgiving offerings, and meal offerings. 

The sacrifices were required and necessary to atone for sin.  The offerings were voluntary.  In the burnt offering, the whole animal was burned, the priest could only keep the skin.  In a primitive life of limited resources, the wholeness of the animal being burned up instead of consumed was symbolic of complete dedication to God.

The peace or thanksgiving offering was also voluntary.  It was a foreshadowing of communion.

The meal offering was also voluntary; grain, oil, and wine were given at the tabernacle.  A portion was burned, and the rest was given to the priests.  The trinity was represented in this offering.

Now that Jesus has come, what is required of us?

No more sacrifices are required to cover sins, but a repentance is made when we come to believe that Christ is our savior.  (We will talk more about this idea in a couple days, hang with me.)

We also are still asked to give tithes and offerings to the church.

In the Old Testament, sacrifices were mandatory to have a right standing with God.  The voluntary offerings were made to show thankfulness, dedication, and nearness to God.  Even though they were voluntary, God asked His people to make these offerings in various scriptures throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and some of the prophet books of the Bible.

Even if these offerings were voluntary, they were done out of obedience.

In the New Testament, we give tithes out of obedience, but I believe any offering of time, money, and/or other resources are done out of obedience as well.  Any gift we give God is just obedience.

There is nothing we can give to God that isn’t already asked of us.

There is nothing we can give to God doesn’t already belong to God.

Did I just deflate your balloon?  Because I feel like mine has been deflated too.

I want to think that I have something to offer God, and I feel proud to hand over my time, talents, and money.  I like giving when it is unexpected.  Surprise, God!  I’m going to do this for you!  It doesn’t work that way.

I’m deflated because I’ve had it wrong in my head.  You see, I misspoke yesterday in my post about motivation.  I asked the question, “Why do I serve God?  Why do I sacrifice time and money for Him?”  Now we see that it isn’t a sacrifice at all.  It is obedience.

I had figured out my mistake in wording before I posted it, but I left it on purpose.  I wanted you, the reader, to see that I am working through these ideas as I go.  I’m drawing together what I have learned in my relationship with God and studying scripture.  I’m firming up my beliefs about how to serve Him.

Let me air that balloon back up for you.  The better way to look at this is that every part of our relationship with God is streaming from Him to us.  He is holding it all together and originating everything good and perfect in your life.

We have nothing to offer Him without first being given things from Him in our hearts, minds, and hands.

The pressure is off.

If we choose to give anything back to God, it first came from Him.  He gives, and we receive it. It is up to us how to use what has been given to us. 

Here’s another truth:  You cannot out-give God.

 

He has a tidal wave of love for you when you give Him love.

He has a tidal wave of strength for you if you choose to serve His kingdom.

He has promised to provide for all our needs, if only we seek Him.

 

He is abundance.

He is goodness.

He is love.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV

 

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I like to include a song with each blog post because, why not?  I love Ryan Adams like Julie Andrews loves raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.  I almost broke up with my favorite podcast last week, The Popcast, because they were talking smack about my Ryan.  I guess I'll forgive them.