“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

A Sacrificial Sacrifice

But the king [David] replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24a

 As Christians, we want to be a witness to those around us. We want to be generous and giving, because that is what Jesus would do - what Jesus DID do when He was on earth, and what He continues to do in heaven. For what we give to others, we are, in actuality, giving to Him (Matthew 25:40).

And admit it (I do!): we don't even mind getting a bit of a benefit ourselves from our generosity. We like to be complimented for our giving. We like to be thanked, to be appreciated. Be used as an example for others to follow.

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There can be a problem with this, however. If you are a person after God's own heart (like David in the verse that opened this post), your giving - your sacrifice - should be...well...sacrificial. If you toss God your leftovers (Mark 12:41), how is that honoring to Him? If your charity/sacrifice helps you - whether it is with self-esteem, encouragement, getting rid of stuff you don't need, or countless other ways I'm not remembering - more than the recipient, how is it really a sacrifice? What are you truly giving to God?

Of course, I'm not saying it is sinful to receive a benefit from your own giving. Just be sure the benefit isn't the REASON you are serving or giving. Don't give something that "costs you nothing" and  expect God to see it as a gift to Him.

Heavenly Father, it's easy to give and serve when the cost to us is minimal or nonexistent. But that isn't what You want from us. Help us to serve You, and Your people, sacrificially. It isn't our leftovers - our hand-me-downs we were going to throw away anyhow - that You want. It's our hearts - and the things we appreciate. You gave up Your Son for us - help us to show our appreciation for that through our own sacrificial giving. In Your Son's name I pray. Amen

 We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us?
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