I reached into my pocket and found the folded paper that I had taken abruptly just a few hours before. I am always amazed at how loudly some lessons come across. It probably spoke louder because I had been praying the day before on a passage in Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. I unfolded the two crisp dollar bills and held them in my hand. It was suppose to have been the grandchildren’s offering at church. Instead, we were back home and I had just pulled it out of my pocket.
What part of my life do I offer as a living sacrifice? If I am honest, although at times I may sacrifice time, or comfort, or convenience, or control, I do not live a life of sacrifice. I live a blessed life. While I don’t take for granted that I am blessed, I feel God calling me to sacrifice my comfort, to spend more time with Him and to be obedient to the call as He shows me what steps to take.
What do I present to Him that is holy? Christ has made us holy, so when I surrender to His will, it is a holy offering.
What do I present that is acceptable? As I reviewed the scriptures, His Word reveals that there are several acceptable ways to live for Him:
- With righteousness ( Proverbs 21:3, Romans 14:17-18),
- With justice (Proverbs 21:3),
- With joy (Romans 14:17-18),
- With peace (Romans 14:17-18),
- Living a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence (I Timothy 2:2-3),
- Living with a renewed mind (Romans 12:2),
- Learning to show godliness to their own family (I Timothy 5:4)
Living as He designed is our reasonable worship to Him. I have found myself the past few weeks pondering how I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. What am I offering to God? Here I stood with a small offering in my hand, a child’s offering. I often feel like what I have to offer is small, childlike in the scheme of God’s great plan. I question if my offering would make a difference, and yet I know that God takes small things and can do big things. All we ever have to offer is what is in our hands, that is all God asks for from us.
My grandchildren always want to make sure they have offering for class. However it often fails to make it to the intended destination because they don’t have pockets or hand it to me to hold. If I remember, I will take it to them. So often we seek the gift we want to be able to give, but yet never allow it to be used for its intended purpose.
I had taken the grandkids offering for safe keeping because the were distracting me during pray. My granddaughter had taken out her dollar, and my grandson saw it. He started getting upset, saying that she had taken his offering. I thought about how many times I had discounted what I had to give because I thought someone else had that gift.
A wise friend reminds me often that it is in the expression of the gift that transformation occurs. I know often in speaking with my kids I can repeat the same thing over and over and it seems to have little impact. Then someone else can come along and say the same thing in a different way and they receive it as a fresh revelation like they have never heard the concept before. The message may not make sense to me, or even to everyone, but to that one person that God means it for, they need to hear the gift as I express it, no someone else.
When my grandson reached into his own pocket, he realized he still had his offering. He took it out and started playing with it. He eventually dropped it. I thought about the times that I have just dropped my offering. Unwilling to acknowledge the gift. Unwilling to believe that God would use me. Unwilling to express it. I’ve left what God placed inside of me right there, hopeful that someone else would pick it up or that God would be willing to bring to opportunity again for me to pick it up and be obedient to Him.
Eventually they both gave their offering to me. I thought about how many times I have wasted what I have to offer, giving it away for something else. I don’t give my offering because I would rather waste time watching television, or on social media. I busy myself with things that are good, but not things that God is drawing me to in that moment. I choose comfort over sacrifice.
- As I stood there looking at the offering, both grandchildren realized it was what they had intended it give. God also sees what we are holding in our hands. He knows sometimes we are going to miss it. He knows when we are going to make an excuse and say someone else has it, when we will drop what we have to offer, and when we are going to waste what He has given us on something else. Yet, in His grace and mercy, He gives it back to us. He gives us other opportunities. He redeems the time.