“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him.” 1 Ch 16:29
If all the glory of heaven and on earth belongs to the Lord, then he certainly is worthy to receive our greatest offerings. We are supposed to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, as the apostle exhorted us in Romans, and if we do so, there is absolutely nothing that we should withhold from the Lord. Everything we own belongs to God, including our lives, and he can claim them whenever and wherever he considers appropriate.
Are these just empty words when we claim that have offered our bodies to God as “living sacrifices,” yet we are so reluctant to reach down deeper into our pocketbook and offer the Lord what he deserves to receive from us in the form of tithes and offerings? Besides monetary giving, we are so stingy in giving the Lord the prime time of our days, our years, and our entire lifetime. We reserve the peak time of our day to work and to exercise and give the butt end of our time to God, if there is any time left at all. We devote the golden time of our youth in doing academic pursuits and our vibrant middle age in building a career and accumulating wealth and whatever is left, we pray, the Lord may lay claim to. Yes, when our eyes fade and our hearing is gone and we can hardly walk, then we will serve the Lord.
The Lord deserves our best in all things, yet what we have been offering to him are our last of all things. We think God is pleased with our giving as if he were a street corner beggar, thrilled to receive a few handouts from the passersby.
How we perceive the Lord pretty much determines what kind of offerings we give to him. If the Lord is great beyond measure, the gifts he gets from us should be our greatest, whatever they may be.
The greatest time of our life is our youth, may we offer it to him; the greatest wealth we possess is our health and talent, let the Lord have them all; the most valuable material possession is our money, may we give it to him. The Lord can claim, if he so desires, whatever we deem our best and greatest.
“I am frightened, for had I done so, I would have been left with nothing. What’s there for me to enjoy in this life if all things that are precious to me are taken away from me?” we wonder. Wasn’t this the very reason the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus, dejected and sad?
What the Lord demands from us isn’t all the great things that we possess; what he desires from us is really us, and our true selves will be restored if we are stripped down to nothing, for the nothingness is really everything, and whatever he has taken away from us will be given back to us a hundred-fold. I think this is quite a great tradeoff. Perhaps we should rejoice when the Lord starts to take things away from us.