Wednesday, May 13, 2015

the blessing of sacrifice

When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it and bring it to Aaron's sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
Leviticus 2:1-2

The "poorest" offering brought to the Lord was still of the best quality. A grain offering was made from the finest flour. Olive oil was utilized as well as come costly frankincense. It was meant to allow the poorest people in the nation to offer something in sacrificial worship of the LORD. And God was pleased with the sacrifice of the person offering it as they truly met these conditions.

I am moved by the mercy of God in making sure that no person in Israel would be "locked out" of meaningful worship. Every person could give something. If he could not sacrifice a bull, he could give a goat. If there were no goat to be had, a turtledove could be sacrificed. If there were no funds to procure a dove, an offering of flour could be burned on the altar. Identical language is used to describe each offering: It is given to the priests, they offer it with fire on the altar. The aroma of sacrifice is pleasing to the Lord whether it be a bull, goat, dove, or flour.

Never think gifts offered to the Lord are too small. There have been past years when my wife and I could offer 30% of our income in charitable giving to God's work. But these days, that would be impossible. The "bull" years are past. And ministry life has given us humble yet adequate means. We tend to sacrifice on the flour, dove, and occassional goat level these days, figuratively speaking of course! But these gifts are true sacrifices, and I know God is pleased with them. If I compare my gift with what others give, however, I will definitely miss the blessing of sacrifice.

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