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I’ve been reading through the Old Testament and what strikes me most about it is how many offerings or sacrifices the Israelites made to God. These sacrifices fell into five categories: burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings and trespass offerings. In short, the offerings consisted of animals such as bulls, birds or rams burnt on the altar or baked bread or cakes.
One way of presenting offerings was lifting them up on the altar. This approach was called a “heave offering.” I know some people want to heave when they smell bad food, but God said that the burnt offerings were “a sweet aroma” to Him (Numbers 15:3).
Thank God we don’t have to offer animals and bread to the Lord these days. For one thing, most of us don’t have a herd of critters or can make all those cakes of bread. Instead, Jesus made the final sacrifice for us when he died on the cross. As 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “He died for all, that those who live shall no longer live for themselves, but for Him.”
How do we live for Him, though? What can we offer to the Lord?
The New Testament talks about four such sacrifices: First, ourselves (Romans 12:1). As one hymn says, “What I have I give Him/give my heart;” 2) praise (Hebrews 13:15) Thanking God for what He has done for us; 3) material resources. We can give our money and other material goods to the local church and/or to other ministries. Case in point, The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received…the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Philippians 4: 18); and 4) service to others. Hebrews 13:16 tells us, “But do not forget to do good…, for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased.”
We can give our time and whatever talents we have to others. So, again we can ask ourselves, what can we offer to the Lord?
Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.