|Jan 15 17
Giving as Worship
By Sam Willcut
Paul declared to the
Corinthians that they were to give on Sunday as God prospered them, taking
up a collection that they would use later to glorify God through the benevolent
actions of the church (1 Cor. 16:1-2). In his second letter to them, he
encouraged them to become cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:7). As we approach
the subject of giving, we want to look at its relationship to worship.
By noting some lessons regarding worship, we conversely ought to see the
nature of giving as worship to God.
Learning from Abel, worship
involves sacrifice. During the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, sacrifices
redominately included their livestock of lambs, bulls, or goats.
Other sacrifices outlined in the book of Leviticus included grain. All
of these denoted that man was to give something valuable from himself to
God as a means of approaching God in worship. Today, we do not give the
same type of physical things (Heb. 10:4). Christ gave Himself as our perfect
sacrifice (Heb. 9:24-28), but as we approach God in worship, we still must
approach Him with this
same attitude—we sacrifice
ourselves (Rom. 10:1) as we sacrifice our money. Speaking of sacrificial
givers, Paul used the churches of Macedonia as examples of those who “first
gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5). In the context of their
giving, he praised them because “their deep poverty abounded unto the riches
of their liberality” (2 Cor. 8:2). Thus, God blesses the one who gives
sacrificially, because the worshipper understands the need to worship God
with sacrifice. Contrast this with the attitude David avoided in his desire
to build an altar of worship and sacrifice (2 Sam. 24:21). When Araunah
wanted to give it to him for free, David responded, “Nay, but I will surely
buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the
Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24).
Therefore, proper worship
to God involves a cost—it involves giving. In fact, the Hebrew writer
referred to the worshipful sacrifices of Abel as “gifts” (Heb. 11:4). We
ought to look upon worship as our gift to God, and thus, our giving as
worship. If a stingy person only gives a little to God, he likely will
be tempted to think little of his worship. Rather than selfishly thinking
of ourselves, we ought to be thinking, “What may I offer to God that will
please him?” Consequently, a failure to have this attitude has tragically
led some to express, “Well, I did not get anything out of worship.”
Paul stated that giving
proves “the sincerity of your love” (2 Cor. 8:8). God does not need our
money, but because He understands the severity of the sin of covetousness
(Luke 12:15), it is a method of proving our love to God within our worship
to Him. By such, I believe we can see a shadow of this principle when the
Israelites freely gave towards the construction of the tabernacle (Ex.
35-36)—they gave until Moses had to restrain them (Ex. 36:6-7). In other
words, the redeemed heart that truly appreciates redemption will have no
problem giving as worship
Our giving in worship
reminds us of the giving that God has done on our behalf (2 Cor. 8:9).
Jesus sacrificed the riches of glory for my redemption (Eph. 2:4-7). God
did not give His Son to die out of pressure or duty (cf. John 3:16); neither
did Jesus give Himself up out of pressure or duty (John 10:18; Eph. 5:25).
Our giving is a reciprocation of such that praises the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit for what they did to make redemption possible!
Therefore, our ultimate
purpose in giving is to glorify God—this is what we do in worship. To illustrate,
consider the scenario that we had lost everything. Brethren from all over
would respond and help us in time of need. How would we respond to such
an outpouring of Christian love? Would we not immediately praise God and
thank Him for touching the lives of individuals through the gospel, changing
selfish hearts into unselfish hearts (Acts 20:35) to sacrifice and help
us in our time of need? In 2 Corinthians 8- 9, Paul explains that this
is exactly what happens whenever we give as a means of worship. The
psalmist asked, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits
toward me?” (Psa. 116:12). As we worship God, we are truly able to say,
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).