One of the gifts I received on my 21st Birthday, was a radio the had been stolen from a Department store. While the gift had considerable retail value, it had cost the giver nothing. I was offended, not pleased with the Gift. Had the person paid for it, a fifty-cent air freshener would have been of greater value to me, than this fifty dollar radio.
For a gift to be truly of value, it needs to be of cost to the giver.
As a Christian, I place a high value on my Salvation, because Jesus gave all He had.
The question today however is, What value do we place on God? What does being a Christian cost me?
In most people’s lives, there are several things of value, that we can give. The obvious is our Money. Next comes our physical Resources, such as our homes. Let us not forget Time and also Reputation and Physical Safety.
When I look at many Missionaries, I see them surrendering all these things for the Kingdom of God. In place of a good career, many Missionaries struggle to survive on the support they receive from other Christians. They give up comfortable homes, often living in shacks, in faraway places. From the time they rise, till they collapse at night, they are consumed with the needs of their mission. Ridiculed by friends and family and going to places where Christianity is not welcomed by all, they can suffer violence and more than a few have perished.
Then looking in the mirror, I am challenged. Is my giving done at a cost to me? Am I ready to use all I have to serve Jesus? How much of my day is given to Scripture, prayer, and study along with fellowship and encouraging others? When in tight situations, would I rather remain silent, and be accepted, than to speak out for Jesus?
The opening chapter of Malachi, is God’s complaint, to a people who give God their leftovers. In verse 10, God pleads for someone to lock up His Temple. It would be better God says, to have the Temple shut than for people to come and give Him, what cost them nothing. I wonder how many Churches, cause God to feel that way? Would God rather our Churches close, than to receive our worship?
God does not measure what we give, by its commercial value. God’s measure is, what it costs us to give! In Mark 12:41-44, we read of a widow who gives her last two pennies. She is embarrassed by the small size of her offering and yet God delighted in it, and He thinks little, of the rich making a show of their giving.
If we truly love the Lord, we will honor God with all we have. We will be generous in our offerings, in our availability, in sharing the things we have, and in putting ourselves out there for Jesus.