Offerings

Laying in bed in March 2013, my thoughts were drawn to this idea:  What do you have to offer God?

Offerings.jpg

One little boy among a crowd of over 5000 had two fish and five loaves (Matthew 14:17, Mark 6:38, Luke 9:13, John 6:9).

 What does Jesus ask?

He asks us to bring Him what we have.  Matthew 14:18 – “He said, ‘Bring them here to Me’”.

What does Jesus do?

He adds His super to our natural to produce supernatural miracles and provision.  Matthew 14:19 (Mark 6:41, Luke 9:16, John 6:11) – “Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.“

What happens?

There are enough leftovers to satisfy the doubt of each disciple.  Matthew 14:20 (Mark 6:43, Luke 9:17, John 6:13) – “And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.”

Three servants were given talents to invest (Matthew 25:15).

 How was each given?

God looks at our unique creation and gives us abilities and talents to use.  Matthew 25:15 – “each according to his own ability”.

What happens?

Two of the three doubled their investment (Matthew 25:16-17).  The third buried his in fear (Matthew 25:18,25).

How does the master respond?

Jesus is looking for faithfulness.  To the two faithful servants, recognition and reward were given.  Matthew 25:21,23 – “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”  But to the third (fearful) servant, what he had was taken away (Matthew 25:28) and he was greatly chastised for wasting his gift (Matthew 25:26-27).

One worshipful woman had a bottle of oil (John 12:3).

 Where is Jesus?

Jesus is celebrating His final days with His friends.  He is having supper with Lazarus (John 12:2) and His disciples at Simon the leper’s house (Matthew 26:6, Mark 14:3).  Simon was a Pharisee (Luke 7:36).

A woman shows up.  What does she have?

She gives Jesus the best – and only – gift she has to give.  “Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard” (John 12:3, Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3, Luke 7:37).  Only John identifies her by name.  Matthew and Mark identify her as just “a woman” (Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3).  Luke identifies her as “a woman in the city who was a sinner” (Luke 7:37).

What happens?

She expresses her love and gratitude for Him in a unique and worshipful way.  She washes Jesus’ head (Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3) and feet with her oil, her hair (John 12:3), and her tears (Luke 7:38).

What is Jesus’ response?

Jesus acknowledges her loving gesture and praises her for caring about Him.  “But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.’” (John 12:7-8, Matthew 26:11-12, Mark 14:7-8).  “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me” (Matthew 26:10, Mark 14:6).  “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47).

Look at God’s response in each example.  He took what each person offered.  He then touched it, blessed it, and multiplied (or acknowledged) it.  Why?  Because each person – with the exception of the one talent servant – was willing to give what he had to the purposes of God.  And with the loaves and fishes, God rewarded both the giver of the offering and all those around him with abundance and satisfaction.

 

So too does God work with us.  God is compassionate to us.  He will take whatever we have to offer – our money, our words, our time, our talents, our gifts, our energy, our tears – and bless it.  He will multiply it.  He will use it to touch the world in a positive way.

 

So as I sat at work and considered how to respond in the middle of continued chaos, I remembered this thought.  What do I have to offer – in the middle of chaos?  When things aren’t going as quickly as I want?  When problems are more abundant than progress?

 

And the answer was simple – offer myself as an instrument of praise.  Allow the joy of the Lord to fill me and fuse the chaos into laughter.  Allow myself to focus on the blessings of God and try to see the good in all things and people.

 

With Jesus, no experience is wasted.  No offering is turned away.  He told the disciples in John 6:12 to “…gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  He tells us the same thing.  He asks us to pick up the pieces of our experiences and offer all of them to Him.  Nothing will be lost in His loving hands.  He will redeem every thing – every smile, every tear, every surety, every question – for our good and His glory, just as He promises in Romans 8:28.

 

So what do you have to offer God?  Give your resources (loaves and fishes).  Give your abilities and gifts (talents).  Give your praise and worship (oil).  He’s waiting for you to bring it to Him.

 

Marie Fremin.  4/6 and 4/8/16.

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