Do you struggle giving your first to the Lord? Do you struggle with giving your last to the Lord? Are you a tither? Do you give church offerings sparingly or bountifully? Most of all, why do you give your offerings? If you do not practice this NECESSARY sacrifice, what prevents you from it?
The answers will undoubtedly cover a wide spectrum of opinionated responses that lack sound Biblical teaching. While Israel’s experiences provide a dominant viewpoint that is upheld throughout Christendom, I want to emphasize that long before God called out the Nation of Israel from the world through Abraham and his promised son Isaac, God has ALWAYS required a sacrificial offering from mankind. More specifically, whenever we are blessed by God OUR THANKSGIVING IS BEST ACKNOWLEDGED THROUGH OUR SACRIFICIAL GIVING.
Abel’s offering to God in Genesis 4 is the first example of sacrificial giving. His brother Cain’s response to God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering is still GREATLY felt throughout the USA. Men and women are still trying to defy God’s requirements for sacrificial giving by rationalizing their human works as a means to get God’s approval. Case and point: a professional legal secretary will bring his/her skills into the church and work on various auxiliaries where the skills are needed. They will give from a place of authority and certainty which is coupled with human merits. In doing so, they will naturally assume that God is pleased with their efforts. They give to the church body with their professional skills. But when the church offering is administered they will struggle with monetary giving because they rendered professional services that were NOT compensated.
God requires sacrificial giving! It literally means GIVING UP SOMETHING GOOD. Noah is the example that represents this best! In Genesis 7:2-3 God tells Noah to gather up every clean beast on the earth by 7’s, both male and female. For example, Noah was responsible for loading 7 male sheep and 7 female sheep. The Godly instruction gives rise to the DIVINE EXPECTATION FOR THE SACRIFICE. The breeding would be maintained by the 6 and the SACRIFICE IS THE 7TH! It is also a revealing appreciation for the PROVIDENTIAL WILL OF GOD CONCERNING MANKIND!
God gave Noah the instruction as He welcomed Noah and his family into the ARK. The UNIVERSAL DEATH OF THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS ENSUED. In Genesis 8 the rain ceases and God gives the instruction to exit the ARK:
Genesis 8:15-21 KJV
15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
Noah did not build a house for his wife and family FIRST! HE BUILT AN ALTAR! His gratitude for SALVATION FROM THE UNIVERSAL DEATH compelled him to sacrifice one of every clean animal to God on the ALTAR. The altar of sacrifice has ALWAYS been a representation for the COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, HIS DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION. Genesis 8:21 once again infers God’s understanding of THE PLAN of REDEMPTION Christ would fulfill. Today God no longer requires blood sacrifice from animals BECAUSE OF OUR ONGOING FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK!
If you KNOW YOU ARE SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS, like Noah we are REQUIRED to give – “not grudgingly, not out of necessity. God loves a cheerful giver…”(2 Corinthians 9:7) Our cheer, willingness and sacrificial giving of our finances is an outward expression of the THANKSGIVING in our hearts and minds for SALVATION. Under the auspices of God’s grace PROVIDING the FREE GIFT OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE, we can NEVER give too much. At this stage of Christian development, financial giving, church service through ministry and talents and any other form of “giving” is acceptable and pleasing in His sight.