Offerings in the Old Testament - they seem to be such a bizarre thing. Kill a bird for this, three rams for that, two bulls and a calf for that other thing...and so on. It is easy for us as 21st century westerners to be tempted to skip right over such things, all the while failing to see its relevance to our lives today. The problem with this line of thinking is that we begin to open the door for other parts of scripture to be up for debate on relevance and then all of a sudden you have your own personal buffet style religion served up just how YOU want it instead of how it was intended. Truth becomes a commodity that you can serve up differently for different situations. In reality, Truth is destroyed.
So what do we do when we come upon these lengthy passages detailing the death and carnage of animals. First we ask God to open our eyes to the truth that is before us and ask that he would help us to understand it in a way that would impact our lives and cause us to see Him in a deeper and greater way than we have before. Second we begin to read and look for the the connections
When I read through sections of scripture dealing with this subject matter I am often filled with a sense of awe, mixed with a sense of humility. For Israel this was not just bringing in a few animals to have killed for the community BBQ. This was their livelihood that they were bringing. It was given with a heart of thanksgiving for all that God had provided for them. It was given in gratitude, and with a sense of awe and wonder that the God of all creation was in fellowship with them.
It was a reminder of the fact that God was with them and that all they had was from him. They were reminded of who needed to be guiding their lives (and it wasn't them). They brought their offerings into the storehouse, brought them to the alter, slaughtered them and put them into the fires because they trusted God. They understood the role that God played in their lives and that it was not only an act of obedience but it was an act of faith, trust, and love for the great I Am.
So even though we may not be bringing in cattle, other livestock and birds with us on Sunday mornings to our corporate worship services, the question we must ask is are we bringing out best? Are we worshiping and placing before the God of all creation offerings of praise and thanksgiving? And are we doing so in a very real and tangible way that allows God to do something in our hearts and minds.
Because when we are willing to let go of our livelihood, our resources and the things we hold to be valuable for the sake of our Lord, we will begin to see amazing things begin to take place in our hearts, our minds, our attitudes and our ability to love, not only God more, but love people.
Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and that the second greatest command was like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.
When we begin to let go of the things that we often so desperately want to hang onto we begin to see God opening up areas of our lives we never knew existed. God wants your heart. But more than that he wants all of you. He wants your mind, soul, and strength as well. And what is it that comes out of our strength? Often it is our livelihood. Our income. Our means of providing for our family. God wants us to honor him by making HIM an offering. Giving of ourselves in all spheres of life and showing him that our trust is in him and him alone.
Have you been making him an offer with EVERY aspect of your life lately?