“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Prov. 21:3)
Bringing offerings of our time, talents, and treasure is definitely a good thing; but there’s an offering He desires that goes far beyond these things.
That offering is YOU.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom. 12:1)
This concept is clearly illustrated when Samuel brings God’s message to Saul (1 Samuel 15), in rejecting him as king of Israel. Saul argues that he did all of these missions and battles in God’s name, and took all of the resources and plunder from those battles in order to sacrifice them to the Lord. But Samuel reveals to Saul that his heart is not aligned to God, and that Saul has been rejecting the Word of the Lord.
“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'” (1 Sam. 15:22)
Samuel is not suggesting that it is wrong or unimportant to bring offerings and sacrifices to God, but that it is MORE important to live a life of obedience and surrender to God, through a heart of true worship (see Rom. 12:1 above). Only then are our offerings and sacrifices acceptable to the Lord.
In today’s context, we see people pouring into church and ministries– serving, giving, devoting time, talent, and treasure. While this is good, these sacrifices on their own, are not what God is looking for. If we think this is what is pleasing God, then we are sadly mistaken. This is a “works-based” belief that our sacrifices are what earn us favor or merit with the Lord. If we are serving and giving, but aren’t prioritizing our relationship with Jesus and living a life of genuine obedience to God’s Word, then in the end, these sacrifices are shallow.
God wants us more than He wants our time, effort, and money- matter of fact, He doesn’t even need any of those things. We must have an urgency to go after Jesus with everything we have- getting into His Word daily, praying without ceasing, allowing our praise and worship to permeate every area of our lives. If we do that, He will be faithful to reveal to us how and where He wants us to sacrifice.
[From December 21, 2018]