What Kind Of Sacrifice Are You Giving
Genesis 4:3-7 (KJV)
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
What kind of sacrifices are pleasing to God? Many would say praise, time, ourselves and so on. They would be right. These and many more found in the bible are what God looks for in sacrifices. Not many of the ones found in the Old Testament due to the ultimate sacrifice that was given to us in through his Son are we required to follow. Simply because they looked forward to the time of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said that mercy is preferred over sacrifice.
Matthew 9:13 (KJV)
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 12:7 (KJV)
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
We are called to give different sacrifices. In Romans 12:1 we are told that we are to be a living sacrifices.
Romans 12:1 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
There may be many that we have to give up in order to do this. How we talk, what we watch, or eat. What we would like to do we may have to leave behind, at least for a while. I do not mean to say that we would have to give up everything. But some things in our lives may hinder us more than help us.
We are told to give sacrifices of praise. Hebrews 13:15-16 (KJV)
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Many times I have found that I do not want to praise God. Things of this world were taking precedence. They were coming first. But God will be pleased if we forget these things and give them to him so that we can give praise to him. I know all of us at one time or another can relate to this. We don’t feel like praising, but when we do, we forget about our cares and worries.
We are also called to give spiritual sacrifices.
1 Peter 2:5 (KJV)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
We don’t bring sacrifices to burn any more. So what can we bring to sacrifice that will be pleasing to God? Our lives lived through following his Son Jesus. Which means that many sacrifices have to be made. We may have to follow God, instead of our parents. That party we wanted to go to, we may have to stay away from. That girl that we would like to date, may not be in our best interest. These and many, many things have to be weighed against what God has given us as rules to live by.
Bearing these many things in mind, what kind of sacrifice are you giving to God? Think about that question for a moment. God loves a cheerful giver. He loves those that will go and help the needy. He loves those that give up some time to help others. But what kind of sacrifice are you giving to God.
Numbers 18:12-13 (KJV)
12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee. 13 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
The following verse is about setting aside or bringing things for living. These were to be given for the priests and Levites so that they may eat. But take a look at what it says. It says the “FIRSTFRUITS of all thine increase”.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (KJV)
9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
In this verse we are told that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice over Cains. It also mentions this in Genesis 4:5-6. But why? Some would say that Cain had pride. Why not he had the hardest go of it in order to bring something to God. Working the land is a lot harder than watching some animals. This may be so, but both are harder in some ways than the other. But there are some verses that may show some other things.
Read Proverbs 3:9 again:
Proverbs 3:9 (KJV)
9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
We are told to bring the first fruits to God. Out of pride Cain could have said that he was going to keep the first of his harvest instead of giving it to God. He may not have brought the first best, but the second best.
Are we not guilty of this very thing at times? We are too busy to go witnessing right now, but when I get done with what I have to do I will help. Our finances are too tight, so I can’t help with money right now. I need to pay my bills first, then whatever is left over I will give as a tithe. I have too much work to do. There is a show coming on that I have been wanting to watch all week. I am too tired. And on and on and on. And surprisingly enough we never seem to get any blessings. Or when we do it is not what we were hoping for.
We expect God to be happy with our leftovers. We expect God to be happy that we are able to pencil him into OUR schedules. But is he really happy when we give him a token reference or we help when we are able to according to our time? I don’t think so. He expects everything else to be second to him.
How do we know that the next person we meet, might not be led to the Lord by us? Or that person needing some money is going to use it for what they say they need it for? Or how do we know that the money we use for bills God could not have used that very week? We don’t. But that is where sacrifice comes in.
When I was a student in Teen Challenge, I remember this one Friday when the kitchen director gave away one of our refrigerators to a woman that had bought one. Now why would he have done this if she had already bought one? The one she bought was dirty and nasty. It was not fit to be used. He offered to give her one of ours. He sacrificed some space for food to make sure that she would have something for her own food at home. God blessed the kitchen the following Monday, by giving us another refrigerator that was given as a donation. What we gave away came back to us again.
As for tithes, we are to give him the first fruits of our paycheck. The total amount and not just the take home. If we give him the first of our checks instead of waiting to give him what is left over, he will take care of the rest. And many times this is a supreme sacrifice. We don’t see how we can survive like this. But that is where faith comes in. That is where the first king of Israel fell. It was a lack of faith on his part in God and his prophet to do what was promised. He gave his second best or just plain moved God out of the way.
What kind of sacrifice are you giving to God? Are you giving the first and best? Or are you giving seconds and the leftovers? Are you like Abel or are you like Cain? How big is your faith in God that he will supply for your needs when you give him the first of what you receive? Can you forget about the cares of the world long enough to give a sacrifice of praise when you do not feel like doing so?
God says we are to love him with everything we have. Are you willing to sacrifice even when it does not seem it is possible? That is what we are called to do as disciples and followers of Christ.