Read: Leviticus 19:1-37
When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. Leviticus 19:5
Looking back on my life, I have always thought of myself as a pretty caring and generous person (real humble right?). I often did things for others and was typically willing to either lend my time or resources. I even bought a pick-up truck specifically so I could offer to help others move furniture or pick things up from stores that wouldn’t fit in their cars. Part of me thinks, “What a magnanimous guy!” (By the way, I don’t always use magnanimous, but when I do….. it’s because I looked it up in a thesaurus and thought, “that is a cool looking word that means generous or forgiving.”) The other part of me questions how often I did things with a sour approach, simply because even when I didn’t want to help, I struggled with the ability to say “no.” I also developed a habit of feeling like I had to repay each good deed done to me with a similar gesture back to that person. My returned act of kindness was never required, but I believed it was expected. This resulted in countless “kind” actions that were motivated by feelings of guilt, obligation, and at times appeared to be a necessary nuisance.
Unfortunately, I had a similar approach to God for years. I served, because the church had “no one else.” I tithed, because I had to according to scripture. I prayed and thanked God even when things were rough, because it was what I was told to do in Sunday sermons. I occasionally offered to step up in ministries to pay God back for something I received, so I could call it “even”… News Flash: You can’t out give or even give equivalently to God! I brought no heart to the table as an offering to a Lord that gave His all to me and continues to bless me with every breath I take.
I don’t know if anyone else has ever been in the same boat and sullenly served God or others, because they felt like they were obligated to. Or perhaps I am the only person that has ever been blinded by selfishness? The bottomline is that many of us want to offer our service and resources to God and others when we want to, but not necessarily when God wants us to. We typically offer our gifts when we feel like we owe it to others or to God. Outside of that, don’t bother our peaceful, self-centered lives.
But God has not given us hearts of willingness just to waste them on a lack of offering or a lack of heart when offering. The thing is, God deserves our attention, gifts, service, love, and our full heart 24/7. He has earned that and more. Too often we forget all that God has done in each of our lives. He pursues us daily and saved us from the darkness of the world. He also designed us as compassionate, relational beings that find joy in helping others, seeing people smile, and being used by Him to support those in need. It’s time that we take pleasure in what we offer up to God through service or resources. Essentially, all that we have is His anyway. Use it for God’s Kingdom and offer it with all your heart. Give and serve with a smile, knowing that God intended us to enjoy being generous. “When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf.” (v.5)
God does not want a half or empty-hearted giver. Giving or serving with a negative attitude is done in vain and if that is the case, you will find yourself wasting time and never receiving the blessing from God that comes with a generous heart. We know from Leviticus 7:12 that a fellowship offering was performed out of thanksgiving. So let’s show God we are thankful for all He has done in us. Let us serve and give to Him with a smile and willing heart so that it is acceptable in His eyes!
Lord, transform our hearts into thankful ones. Let us never take for granted all you have done. Keep our attitudes upright, honoring, and glorifying to you. And send your Spirit to encourage a giving and serving desire within us. We ask this in Your Name, Amen.