In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: 2 Samuel 24:18-25
Memorise This Verse: Hebrews 13:16 ‘And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’
Afterwards Talk About This: Is it fair to say that if our offerings don’t move us they won’t move God?
Something To Do Before Next Time: Giving something of value away in order to extend the Kingdom of God
Written Diploma Work: List as many people as possible from the bible who gave sacrificial offerings.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: Philippians 4:18
In the section concerning tithing, it was argued that a good rule to follow regarding tithing is that we should tithe on the first and the best of what we receive. Having established that offerings are given in addition to the tithe, this section will expand a good rule concerning offerings – namely that our offerings should be sacrifices. It has been rightly said that if our offerings don’t mean much to us, they probably won’t mean much to God the bible often mentions sacrifices and when it does, it is often in the context of financial giving. It would appear that God simply cannot resist a sacrificial financial offering and the greater we dare to be with our offerings, the greater we will be rewarded. The size of a believers financial offering is solely down to them and the bible lays down no definite rules but it would appear to lean towards offerings being sacrifices in the sight both of the giver and God.
The best example of someone making an offering to God that was a sacrifice was when Jesus offered himself for the sins of the world for example
Ephesians 5:1 says, ‘ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’.
Jesus himself knows what it means to give an expensive offering and what he calls us to do he has done himself even to the point of giving his very life. We saw previously the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44 she certainly gave an offering that was a sacrifice as the scripture records she gave everything she had left to live on into the treasury. (As always with our sacrificial offerings, they never go unnoticed and it actually caught the eye of the Son of God himself as will your sacrificial offerings.)
King David is one of the greatest givers that that the bible records and this rule that our offerings should be sacrifices is something that he demonstrates in his own life. In 2 Samuel 24 , after a series of errors culminating in the recording of a census of his army, David incurs the wrath of God and as a result he pleads for mercy and consequently is instructed to build an alter to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah. He wisely declines Araunah’s offer to give the threshing floor to him for free and boldly declares in verse 24 ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing’.
Without doubt one of the Apostle Paul’s favourite churches was the Philippian church and his letter to the Philippians is full of his love, joy and fellowship with the believers there. Philippians chapter 4 is one of the great chapters of the bible and Paul reveals here that the Philippian church was a giving church and was the only church at that time to send offerings to him on his missionary journey. It is likely that the Philippians brought their tithes into the church and also took up offerings regularly for Paul and the sacrificial nature of these offerings is referred to by Paul in verse 18 ‘They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God’.
A further example of someone giving a sacrificial offering is Mary’s gift of perfume used to anoint Jesus, the story is related in John 12:1-6. Here, Mary is giving a gift to the Son of God himself and verse 7 shows that this gift was something that she had saved up for. Moreover, the value of the perfume was 300 denaria Matthew 20:2 suggests that one denarius was roughly a day’s wages so the value of the perfume was roughly a year’s wages. This sacrificial offering doesn’t go unnoticed and Mary’s gift is recorded in the scripture as being of great value in the eyes of the Son of God.
The same principle of sacrificial offerings is illuminated by the writer to the Hebrews when he says, ‘And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:16). Notice that the context is again one of financial giving and the word ‘sacrifice’ is used the bible declares that God is pleased when sacrificial offerings are given by the people of God. Perhaps, you often wonder (or even fear) if God is pleased with your spiritual life and if you are doing what God has called you to do well, in the area of finances if you are tithing and giving sacrificial offerings then according to Hebrews 13:16, God is well pleased with what you are doing.
Perhaps the best biblical example of sacrificial offerings is the Macedonian churches (referred to in 2 Cor 8:1-6) who contributed to the collection of the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. Their giving was exceptional as the bible reveals three very startling facts about the offering 1) They gave with JOY! (verse) 2) They gave even beyond their ability to give (verse 3) 3) They urgently pleaded to give into the offering (verse 4)
Sadly there are very few examples today of people urgently pleading to give offerings into the work of God but the Macedonians were, and their testimony is recorded for all time in scripture. Giving sacrificial offerings is seldom preached on or practised today. For fear of upsetting or offending people many Pastors don’t speak on money and sacrificial offerings and this is to their shame because of the many scriptural references to offerings and financial open-handedness. Giving a large sacrificial offering can be a hard thing to do but the Macedonian believers not only pleaded to make one but had joy in doing so. Surely these believers attained to a level of giving and confidence in their God that few of us will ever attain to – yet what an awesome place it must be to have such a tremendous faith level.
Finally in the book of Malachi chapter 1 the Lord issues a rebuke to the pathetic sacrifices that were offered to him and concludes in verse 14 ”For I am a great King’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And my name is to be feared among the nations”. God is interested in our offerings because they reveal our love, fear and reverence for him sadly for many Christians, their giving shows how little they are walking with God. So, are your offerings bringing honor to your heavenly father? are you giving offerings that are sacrifices? do your offerings show you have a strong relationship with God? Many worldly people are happy to pay extra money in order to have excellence in the item they are buying – just as excellence has a high monetary value in the eyes of the world, the excellence and glory and majesty of God should have a high monetary value with our offerings.
So in conclusion as to the question of how much we should be giving, there are several things we can say. In the Old Testament, with the introduction of the law, the people of God were called to be tithers and scripturally this seemed to apply to all sources of income and increase, including such areas as livestock, fruit, oil and new wine. Whilst the bible is not completely clear on this matter it would appear that the principle of tithing is still a discipline for New Covenant believers, and as well as tithing, the New Testament speaks of giving financial offerings as well (in the same way that the Old Testament speaks of offerings over and above the tithe).
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Chile
15,211,294 people, Catholic majority
Catholics declining but evangelicals caught in disunity, rivalry and introversion.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.