Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sacrificial Giving

Last night was an exciting for us. My sister-in-law, who lives on the farm next to ours, has goats.......... and one of them gave birth during the first major snow of the winter. As the snow was falling and a brisk wind was blowing, we sat sheltered by the barn and watched the arrival of two baby goats. Having lived in the country most my life, I've seen my fair share of baby animals come into the world, but newborn goats were a first for me. As I was watched these newest additions to God's creation struggle to stand as they were being tended to by their mother, it struck me how in Biblical days, one of these new lives could have been required to be given up to the Father in sacrifice. Being the animal person I am, it was hard for me to imagine how I would have handled it. I guess that's part of what sacrificial giving is all about. Willingness to give up to God what we would rather keep.

Thankfully, the days of animal sacrifices are long over. Though, giving sacrificially is still part of a Christian life. At least, it should be. Giving to God is not about giving up the things we no longer need or use. It should be a sacrifice, it should hurt just a little to let it go. Whether it be time, money, or even things in our homes that make our lives easier. If we never give to God in the way we should, how can we ever come close to knowing what it cost Him to give the precious gift He gave. After all, he made the greatest sacrifice of all. If it hadn't been for the sacrificial giving of the Father, we would have never known the Son.


Jacke M. said...

Thank you, PJ! What a wonderful reminder of what God requires of us, and he asks nothing of us that He has not already given. Particularly when we consider that everything we have belongs to God and that He has only allowed us to be stewards. He has and continues to give much more than we can ever repay.

greg said...

Hey Jacke. No time for a long discussion, but I do have two responses. One is that when I was a child, we went to visit some old friends of my parents in Arkansas during the winter. They lived at the top of a "mountain" (I was small - it was probably just a big hill), and I remember driving up the mountain in the snow at dusk. It was really beautiful, and something totally new for me. Your post brought that memory back. Thanks!

The other has to do w/ the point of your post. In the Lutheran service we recite the following after the offeratory: "Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us - our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord." I really like this prayer, because it takes all of the pain out of giving. No matter how much I give the fact remains that I can never repay my debt to God. Further, all that I have, and all that I will have, comes from God, so there is never really a question of "can I afford to give this?" None of it is mine in the first place. This prayer changes the focus of giving from missing what is given to God to being thankful for what is given by God.

Jacke M. said...

Greg, thank you for your comment! I like that prayer too, it would be a nice reminder of the fact that nothing we own is ours and we are so blessed! Since my baptism last Sunday God continues to fill me with indescribable joy!

BUT, I didn't write this entry on Sacrificial Giving. PJ wrote it. She began contributing in January of this year and I'm really glad you enjoyed reading her last entry. As far as the reminder of Arkansas, you can thank PJ for that but I've got to ask, of course realizing that Arkansas is full of hills, would that have possibly been Jasper, Arkansas? I grew up very close to there and have a friend whose parents live on that mountain. Driving up in the morning it is nearly always foggy.

One of my favorite and most memorable car rides was in Arkansas, too. Driving on a curvy road at about age 19 with my boyfriend, who was visiting from Virginia over the Christmas break, and there had been an ice storm, the trees were hanging over the road, branches covered in ice, snow on the ground and the sun was shining on those icy branches. There wasn't another car on the road and it was like driving through a forest of sparkling diamonds. I've never experienced anything like it since.

I'm glad you popped in!