Gratitude… not generosity…

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Psalm 50: 7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. 8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. 9 I will not accept a bull from your house, or goats from your folds. 10 For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine… 14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” 

God is not taking issue with the practice of sacrifice, “your burnt offerings are continually before me”. The people are apparently following the law. It’s the heart condition that God addresses here. The people are offering sacrifices, but more out of a sense of self-glorification. “Look at what I’m giving to God! Aren’t I generous?”

American Christianity is eyeballs deep in the language of “generosity” in terms of Christian giving. Our intentions are good, but problematic. What’s the problem? “Generosity” suggests that what I have belongs to me; that I’m being benevolent in my offering. What God asks is for is not generosity but gratitude, which acknowledges that everything I have already belongs to God. “Generosity” puts the focus on the giver. “Gratitude” puts the focus on the Provider.

Lord God you are the giver of all things, including all that we have. Give us pure hearts that willingly give you thanks for all that you have first given to us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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