Giving on our Own Terms

“”Samuel replied. “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience?  Obedience is far better than sacrifice.  He is much more interested in your listening to Him than in your offering the fat of rams to Him. I Samuel 16:22

When I was a single person, I would have described myself as generous.  I was always thinking of nice things to do for people, gifts to give, cards to send and the like.  However, when I got married, I found out what it was like to give because someone asked me to.  Any married person knows your spouse may want you to go someplace or do something when you have no interest, no energy or just don’t feel like it.  Giving on someone else’s terms is always more generous than giving on your terms, because it involves sacrifice.

God knows these things.  Buying or bringing a lamb to sacrifice was simpler for an old testament Jew than obedience– especially when obedience required more than a one-time gift.  Obedience may mean giving up a sin, a bad habit, a relationship, or it may mean doing something that, for whatever reason, we don’t feel like doing.  But God wants our love.  He wants relationship with us.  He wants us to listen to what He likes and wants.  He won’t be happy with our half-hearted one-time offerings that we give because we feel like it.  Many times the biggest part of a gift is the sacrifice that went into it.  That is real love.

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