OFFERING, A HOLY AND SPIRITUAL RITUAL
Offering, sacrifice or thanksgiving is a ritual practice across religions of the world. Each community, clan or family from time to time makes an offering to a deity or an individual. This ritual is carried out with complete respect and reverence for the deity or individual which may be a chief priest, king, queen or prince.
The Christian religion is not exempted from this tradition of rendering God offerings. From the time of Cain and Abel, this has become an almost daily ritual for Gods people. They give offerings to glorify and adore God. The Jews in the Old Testament approached this exercise with utmost reverence for God because offering is a holy and spiritual ritual. They offered sacrifice for atonement of sin and then in gratitude for Gods benevolence.
Priests were chosen among the Israelites (specifically the Levites) to perform this ritual on behalf of the community. They were at all times expected to offer unblemished offerings to glorify a holy, perfect God. This attitude was expected from their children across generations to come. They had to revere God daily for His might, blessings, protection and guidance, but with holy and acceptable offerings.
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).
The act of offering gratitude to God often comes from within, an inner feeling of gratitude and reverence for Gods love, mercy and supremacy over the works of His hands. In truth, offering is first offered within before an outward expression. It is a communion with God – expression of inner feeling of gratitude and love for God. It is also an expression of compassionate and overflowing love for the needy. Hence, the fulfilment of the New Commandment: love for God and neighbour.
The act of giving is natural to mankind because it is an act of love which is the nature of every human being formed in the image and after the likeness of God. Thanksgiving, praise and adoration are a great expression of love for God, the quintessence of love. When you render assistance to someone, it is a great demonstration of love, most especially when you feel the compassion and prompting to do so.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3).
The heart has a great role to play in the act of love. This was seen in the offerings of Cain and Abel and today, and is still quite valid today. While many are offering God thanks for His mercy and love, there are others who are showing ingratitude and selfishness. People give for self-gratification; others just for the promised benefits of multiplication. And herein lies the problem and the deception that is propelling some ministers and Christians.
Some ministers are quick to say give and it will be given back to you in multiple folds.” Some will tell us how $1 offering led to $20 in return. If the message of giving is propagated in this manner, it will surely be seen as a business venture and the act of giving which is love will soon lose its place in our religious communities. Then our offering becomes a vain ritual.
Don’t coerce your followers to give to God but teach them how to render offering to Gods honour and glorification. And dont let the desire to get rich in material possessions drive your ministry but the love of God and the privilege of being chosen to service in His vineyard. God looks at the heart of the giver, so He can either accept or reject your offering just like Cain’s (see Genesis 4:1-7).
If a church is more concerned with budgets and buildings than peoplethey should close their doors! The church without mercy is a fraud. – John Hagee
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we must come to the point of living the teachings of Christ with regards to offerings: seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matthew 6:31-34); when you give do not let your left hand know what the right hand is offering (see Matthew 6:1-4); to forgive one another before stepping forward to render Him an offering (see Matthew 5:23-24); recognising the widows mite (see Luke 21:1-4).
We must not overlook these scriptural points while offering thanksgiving to God. We must approach offering in humility and reverence for God. We must first love and show mercy to one another before rendering God offerings. We must use what God has bestowed on us, whether small or great, to honour God. There must not be any giving competition in the Household of God.
As we reflect on the scriptures above, we must give to Gods glory and not to the glory of ministers of the Gospel. The ministers must also know that there is nothing wrong when you tell your followers not to offer money and items got from unholy ventures. It is a way of sanitising the society, calling your members to live an upright life.
Jesus reminds us that our lives and actions are meant to direct peoples gaze to God and not towards ourselves: So that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. – Father Shawn Aaron, LC
Finally, we must not raise and render offerings to God with a deceptive mind. The building of physical structures for the worlds admiration must not be of higher priority than building a holy and spiritual structure, household of God, which lives on after the end of this fading world. Remember, the beautiful temple was brought to ruins because of the infidelity of Gods people, the Jews.
Therefore, God prefers our loyalty to Him and His ordinances to building Him physical structures (1 Samuel 15:22; Mark 12:23; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Proverbs 21:3). Let the outside world admire the beautiful hearts of the members of the Household of God rather than the beautiful buildings where we all gather to fellowship. God would rather have beautiful hearts worship Him in tents rather than men and women worship in stunning architectural edifices but lacking in lack of love, mercy and justice.
Why do you render offering? No idea? For Gods glorification and blessing? For self-exaltation and public recognition?
Heavenly Father, all I have is Yours. Fill me with the grace to offer You pleasing and holy offerings daily in humility and gratitude for Your infinite mercy and love. Amen.
Jesus Christ Speaks
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).