On Thursday , in “What’s in YOUR Sacrifice? Part 4, we learned that some of our sacrifices of time, talent, resources and worship are for the Lord and Him alone. Others are to help sustain the work of the Lord; while we, ourselves, are encouraged to partake of some of our sacrifices. When we do, however, we are also to share this liberally and with all humility, with those less fortunate than we are.
One specific command is noted throughout many of the Levitical sacrificial instructions: The sacrifice is to be “with no defect”: “If the animal you present as a burnt offering is from the herd, it must be a male with no defects…” (Leviticus 1:3 NLT; see also Lev. 1:10); “Do not present an animal with defects, because the LORD will not accept it on your behalf.” (Leviticus 22:20 NLT).
The meaning of this to modern-day offerings seems obvious, doesn’t it? We’re not to keep the best for ourselves, but we are to give it to God, ever trusting that when we do, God will provide for our own needs: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Cor. 9:8 NLT).
Somehow, this seems a bit easier to accomplish when your offering is a physical gift. It becomes a bit more abstract, however, when we think about the 21st century offerings of worship, time, talent and resources. Exactly how are we supposed to give of our time, our talents and our resources “with no defect”? And what about our worship? None of us worships perfectly!
This may be true, but isn’t it also true that we so often save our prayers for the pillow? We fall into bed exhausted both mentally and physically, we mumble out, “Thanks, Lord. I praise You…” and the next thing we remember is waking up in the morning. Or maybe we get up early in the morning to worship the Lord. Let’s say, however, that we got to bed late the night before because we were trying to finish a movie or a good book. Sure, we get up when the alarm rings, we may even be sipping on that first cup of coffee, but are our minds fully alert? Fully open to God’s Spirit? Completely overflowing with gratitude? Or maybe we are fully awake, but we know it will be a busy day. Maybe we even have an early morning commitment, so we rush through our worship. Is this giving to God “with no defects”?
And what about gifts of resources? Do we pay all our bills and put aside money for savings, and then if there is anything left over, we drop it in the offering box at church? Or do we spend time with God when we receive each pay check, asking Him how much (and when and where) to give back to Him, and then cut God’s portion out first?
Then there are our gifts of talent. Maybe you are an accomplished pianist, and your sacrifice of talent is to play in the praise and worship service at church. What if you decide you don’t need to set aside time to practice? After all, you know the songs, and hey, with all the other instruments, who will hear you if you make a mistake?
What if your offering talent is in leadership, but you rush through your day, stressing out over every little problem, you have a fight with your spouse, the kids are noisy and disrespectful, and you yell at them as well. Will you come into the group you have offered to lead as a sacrifice to the Lord ready to give your very best? Will that offering be “with no defect”?
The same could be said of your offerings of time. If you put all your other responsibilities first, will your time be “with no defect”?
What “with no defect” means, then, to 21st century sacrifices, is that we are to give God of our very best, no matter what!
There is, however, one more vitally important part of a sacrifice “with no defect”. The Bible tells us that the sinless Jesus (See Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 1:19) was the perfect sacrifice: “For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” (Hebrews 9:14b NLT). This tells us that in order to give a sacrifice to the Lord that has “no defect”, they need to be offered without sin.
Of course, none of us are perfect, but we are all covered by the blood of Jesus, and we should do everything possible to stay pure of sin: “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” (Col. 3:5a NLT). In Matthew 7, Jesus spells this out more clearly for us: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matt. 7:23,24 NLT).
In summary, a 21st century offering that is “with no defect” means that we confess our sins, we repent, we put away guilt, pride, contempt, etc., we reconcile with those who have something against us, and we give God our very best.
The book of Leviticus gives us further instruction on how our modern-day sacrifices should look. Join us on Tuesday for “A Bunch of Wheat Doused in Oil? What Is in YOUR Sacrifice? Part 6.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “What’s in YOUR Sacrifice?” miniseries, please click here!)