Already, three offerings have been collected: the first and last day of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost. The Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day lie right ahead.
How important are these offerings in your mind? They are very important to God—so much so that He commands His people to give them during the festival seasons. Deuteronomy 16:16-17 state: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.”
Though God commands offerings, He does not legislate how much each person should give. It’s left up to each individual to give according “as he is able.” How much a person gives, how he or she prepares the offering and with what attitude the offering is given—all become each person’s opportunity to exercise proper responsibility, revealing to God how important offerings are to them.
God isn’t interested in huge offerings for their own sake. On one occasion, Jesus watched people depositing their gifts into the treasury. The rich strode in and left extravagant offerings. Then a poor widow laid down “two mites,” or small copper coins. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Luke 21:3-4; New King James Version).
King David understood that all the abundance that the people gave to build God’s house came from God anyway. 1 Chronicles 29:1-14 is a wonderful section of Scripture to study when you prepare your offerings. Note the last part of verse 14: “for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”
Since God owns everything, why give offerings?
There is a purpose for offerings: God wants us to think like Him.
It is good for us to learn to give. When we give something to someone, we are showing love, respect and concern for that person. The offering as it passes between the giver and the receiver represents a bond of affection between the two parties—in this case, you and God.
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth …” (Deuteronomy 8:18; NKJV ). By giving to God, the worshiper acknowledges the source of income.
God commanded Israel to bring an offering for the construction of the sanctuary. The Eternal said, “… From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” (Exodus 25:2; NKJV ). This illustrates the important principle that God has chosen to do His Work through human instruments. Part of that Work is for God’s people to provide the financing.
In Israel, this method proved to be a grand success; the response was magnificent. Moses finally had to turn offerings away! “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do” (Exodus 36:5; NKJV ).
Notice how important the attitude of the giver is: “… I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your bountiful gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation “(2 Corinthians 9:5; NKJV ).
Brethren, preparation is a vital key. The offering should be a carefully planned matter. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Paul’s admonition was twofold: First, prepare your offerings ahead of time, and second, give generously according to your blessings.
Remember that a little soon amounts to a lot. J. Willard Marriott, late owner of Marriott Hotels, said, “It’s the little things that make the big things possible.”
If we approach our offerings seriously, God will be able to say of us as He did of Abel, “… And the Lord respected Abel and his offering” (Genesis 4:4; NKJV ).
Commit yourself to establishing in your mind the importance to God of your offerings. Develop your plan of action now for the next holy day and beyond. Think, I want my offerings to be as important to me as they are to God.
Brethren, I truly encourage all of us to deeply “think on these things.”