The saying that money answers all things is one reason I think many bulls are very much expected in the church. This possibly is also the reason why lots of efforts are focused on money-making activities in some of our house of worship. No doubt, ‘Money is the wheel of the gospel’, as they say, but when this takes the place of sincere worship experience, then it becomes worrisome.
Knowing the need for financial resources in the church, why would God say that he does not want our offerings? In addressing the hypocritical Israelites, He declared, “I have no need of a bull from your stall..for every animal of the forest is mine….” Psalm 50:9. God rejected their offerings because their lives were not pleasing to him.
The anxiety about offerings to give in church prevents some from attending church services because they don’t want to been seen as not participating in the contributions. I have interacted with few who confided in me that they truly wouldn’t like to be embarrassed during offering time especially when they would be required to dance to the alter and drop their offerings. And so they stay away from church until they are financially buoyant.My question is, should this be so?
For self justification, some would usually quote the bible verse that instructed us not to come to God’s presence empty-handed. “…No one is to show up in the Presence of God empty-handed; each man must bring as much as he can manage, giving generously in response to the blessings of God , your God.” -Deuteronomy 16: 16-17 MSG.
Truly, God instructed us to offer our gifts as a way of appreciation and honor to him. But this, He advised must be done out of a cheerful and generous heart, and not by compulsion. Thus, a genuine lack and inability to give offerings is acceptable to God, but a fat offering from a proud and ungodly heart is an abomination to him.
Church offering and tithes are part of our worship experience. It’s purpose is clearly stated in Malachi 3:10: “Bring all the tithes into the store house that there may be food in My house…”. Firstly our offerings or tithes are not useful to God but it is for the propagation of the gospel. He made the world and everything in it, and so He calls for worship that is from a pure heart.
Here the church is the storehouse; the place where one receives spiritual help, where his gospel needs are supplied and where he meets his responsibility in the work of God. Thus, for the proclamation of the gospel, our cheerful contributions are important for the church. However, this should not be done out of force or coercion, rather it should be given out of a cheerful heart and not as a grudging obligation.
Apostle Paul admonished the Corinthians church to give from willing and beneficial hearts, not from a grudging and covetous spirit (2 Corinthians 9:5). He further stated in vs. 7 four things that a man must do in giving. This includes:
1. He must give willingly from the heart
2. He must not give grudgingly
3. He must not give of compulsion
4. He must give cheerfully.
Therefore, God will be pleased to have us enjoy his presence without the burden of what to contribute in church. He’s much more concerned about our hearts of worship than our gifts. He asked, “Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?”(Psalm 50: 14). He’s more interested in the sacrifice of our lives than our meager or bountiful offerings. Remember that Gods acceptance of the sacrifices of Abel and His refusal of that of Cain was not based on the quality of their gifts but on the state of their hearts.
In the same vein, we are sometimes motivated to give beyond our ability so that we can enjoy more of God’s blessings. Oftentimes, this is borne out of compulsion or coercion, and the greedy believers would fall into the trap of testing God with their offerings. God cannot be mocked! If such gifts are from an unwilling heart, it would yield no peaceable fruits except if spiritually manipulated in an ungodly manner.
We should view our sacrifices as an act of commitment and fellowship with God, not as a way of manipulating God into putting His stamp of approval on our plans. No! God is rich beyond our dreams; He has no need of our offerings. What matters to him is the attitude we take towards him.
God is deserving of our sincere worship, absolutely. His acceptance of us is not dependent on the quality or quantity of our offerings. He wants our lives as sacrifices. This is the reasonable and acceptable worship that is pleasing to him.
So, don’t just take bulls to church, take your hearts of worship to church. The pastor might be pleased with your well nourished bulls but to God it may be a disgusting sacrifice and an effort in futility. Rather, take to church a broken spirit, not just a bull! God can despise your beautiful and bountiful offerings but a broken and a contrite heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
Offer yourself wholly to your maker. You’re winning! Yes, we are winning!