Key Verses Governing our Offering:
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise --the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Heb. 13:15-16)
Key Attributes of God as Worthy of Sacrificial Praise:
God is our Maker, the Creator of everything. Hence, it only makes sense that we express unconditional appreciation and give back to Him from what we have been entrusted.
Key Issues in Worship:
- It's about what we give Him, not what we get out of it.
When we come to worship with expectations of personal enrichment or enjoyment, we are bound to sometimes go away disappointed. When we come to worship simply to meet with God to praise His name, He will never disappoint.
- It's about what we give Him, not what we might get in return.
God does not owe us anything because we offer ourselves to Him. We are only giving back what He already provided.
Key Focus in Offering to the Lord:
What can we give to Him?
Know that in giving to Him we are not adding to His wealth. He already owns it. He is the owner of all that ever existed and ever will exist. See Psalm 50:8-12.
If the focus is on what we get, some will become lulled to sleep and turn away from Him rather than draw closer to Him. (Deut. 31:20)
Implications for the Worship Leader:
- In planning the service, remember that your concern should be leading people to focus on the Lord, to give of themselves to Him. Do not purposefully jolt people out of their comfort zones. Just as the people need to sometimes lay aside their preferences as an offering to God, so does the worship leader. Yet, remember that you cannot please all the people all the time. Hebrews 13:15 says, "offer to God a sacrifice of praise." By definition, the word "sacrifice" denotes giving up something which for most people usually is not comfortable. Plan to please God, not people. If God is in charge of your planning, He will take care of the people.
- Watch for producing a dichotomy between "worship" and offering time. Announcements that so often accompany the offering, are one hindrance. Limit how many announcements you make and strategically place them in the service so they don't take away from the spirit of worship that should accompany the giving of tithes and offerings. Another hindrance can be routine. When the same procedure is always followed in taking the offering, people tend to stop thinking about what they are doing and giving becomes mechanical. Keep it fresh. Find new ways to remind people that giving is a continuation of worship.
Implications for the Individual Worshiper:
- When you attend a worship service with music and other means that do not fit your preferences, give Him praise nonetheless without complaint or negative attitude. If you do, you will truly be offering that "sacrifice" of praise.
- When the offering plate comes around, give generously because He deserves it not begrudgingly out of duty or because others are looking. Give of your "firstfruits" not your leftovers or whatever is in your pocket. Come prepared, intentionally planning to give to the Lord as 1 Chronicles 16:29 suggests when it says, "Bring an offering and come before Him."
- Remember that worship extends beyond "going to church." When you "confess His name" to others in your daily sphere of influence, you are offering "to God a sacrifice of praise." When you help others in need throughout the week, you are worshiping "for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Heb. 13:15-16).
- Never forget that the ultimate offering is yourself ... a life fully devoted to God in all you do and say. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship" (Rom. 12:1).
More to Read: What Can We Offer a God Who Owns It All?