Giving to God – what counts is our heart

The ultimate sacrifice was brought by Jesus Christ. So what use are our offerings and sacrifices? Here are five good reasons, and what they mean for the giver.

On Sunday, 15 September 2019, the Chief Apostle conducted a divine service in Pago Pago on American Samoa. He based his sermon on Genesis 4: 4: “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.“

First, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider referred to the Old Testament. He mentioned five reasons why the Jewish people brought offerings and sacrifices to God:

  • to worship God;
  • to thank God;
  • to have fellowship with Him;
  • to ask for His blessing or help;
  • to be reconciled with Him.

However, the New Testament changed everything.“Jesus, the Son of God, brought His sacrifice,” the Chief Apostle said. This sacrifice was perfect and is eternally valid for everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. And that means we do not have to bring sacrifices and offerings in order to be saved, the Chief Apostle said.

However, there are many other good reasons to sacrifice and offer to God, the Chief Apostle said, and went on to explain. By doing so, we

  • worship and profess Christ: “First of all, our offerings and sacrifices are a profession of our faith. We believe in God the Father. He gives us what we need on earth. We believe in the Creator, we believe that everything comes from Him. We are fully dependent on the grace of God.”
  • express our gratitude: “We bring our offerings in order to thank our benefactor. We thank God for the redemption He offers us. We thank Him by doing good, by helping others, and sharing our spiritual treasure. We thank God for everything we experience in His church. And that is why we bring our offering, in order to support the Church.”
  • seek fellowship: “In order to have fellowship with Christ we must renounce everything that does not correspond with Christ and His nature.” That includes sin in all its forms, ideas and opinions that do not correspond with Jesus, and wishes and prayers that God does not answer.”
  • strive for forgiveness: “Thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we no longer need to bring a sacrifice or an offering in order to be forgiven,” the Chief Apostle said, “but Jesus wants us to give up certain things.” These include accusations against our neighbour, the idea of revenge, our notion of human justice. “This is also a spiritual sacrifice in order to obtain forgiveness.”
  • show our trust in God: “Sometimes we come to God with a special petition. We pray and bring God a special offering. We definitely cannot buy God’s help. So why do we do it in the first place? We want to show God how important this petition is for us. Through our offering we want to thank Him before He even answers our prayer. We want to show Him: ‘I trust You. You will help me. Whatever You do will be the right thing for me.’”

In this respect, things have not changed since Abel’s time. What’s important is our heart’s attitude, not what we give. “All the sacrifices and offerings we bring with a pure heart will be blessed by God. It is my wish that we may all experience this.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service