An “offering” or a “sacrifice”?

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Malachi 1:(God said via the prophet Malachi) “A son honors his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, “How have we despised your name?” By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, “How have we polluted it?” By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong?”

Malachi is pointing out a fundamental problem with the practices of God’s people. They follow through with the letter of the law as it relates to making sacrifices to God, but miss the spirit of it. The law of Moses asks people to bring their best as an offering to the Lord. The perfect animal with the most value. Or if it was an offering of a crop rather than livestock it would be the first fruit harvested. This reminds me of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter 4. God gave Abel favor over his brother Cain because Abel’s offering was his very best whereas Cain’s was not. Cain’s was an offering, just not his very best.

The idea is that an offering to God should be costly. It should be a sacrifice to give something of great value to God, hence the name “sacrifice”. When what we give is not a sacrifice, or of significant worth, it fails to honor the spirit of the offering.

This morning I’m considering the things I offer to God. My time. My money. My work. My very self. Do I always give to God my very best? Probably not. Sometimes what I give to God is an offering, but not a sacrifice. There’s a difference. Fortunately, unlike the law of Moses in the Old Testament, my offerings and sacrifices do not determine my place before God. Jesus Christ has secured my place forever. Still, I want to give my best to God. Lord give me grace to make it so. Amen.

One thought on “An “offering” or a “sacrifice”?

  1. Lyn Zastrow

    Great lesson. Our giving has been on ‘auto pilot’ (automatically pulled from our account every week). While it is first fruits, it probably isn’t a sacrifice. And I know that during the past two years, I have not sacrificed my time as I have in the past. These are things to look at for the New Year.

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