John Ritenbaugh, drawing comparisons between the vast offerings given collectively by the nation of Israel for the building of the temple, equaling 1 billion, 400 thousand dollars in today's wealth, and King David's personal contribution, in excess of 1 billion, 600 thousand dollars, avers that both were dwarfed into significance when compared to the widow described in Luke 21:1-4, who gave a paltry 2 mites—that's only a quarter of one cent. She gave considerably more because she sacrificed all she had, while the richer contributors gave from their excess. God, who needs nothing from any of us, nevertheless is moved when (1) we carefully and thoughtfully consider our offering, (2) we give it with a certain measure of sacrifice, (3) we give it in faith, and (4) we give it ungrudgingly, realizing that God is no respecter of persons, but measures each person's attitude and intent individually.
Ronny Graham, reflecting on the history and circumstances of offerings in the Bible, including the Queen of Sheba's fabulous gift to Solomon, Cain and Abel's respective offerings, and Abraham's offering to Melchizedek, focuses on the most significant offering ever given to a dignitary—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—given to Jesus by the magi. Gold, because of its beautiful luster and its rarity, is difficult to attain, and its permanence symbolizes royalty. Frankincense, a fragrance used in incense, symbolic of prayers, was not allowed to be used for private use, but only for God's use. Myrrh is fragrant oil used for anointing prior to death. All three of these gifts brought by the magi were prophetic symbols of Christ. Any offering, to be pleasing to God, should be from the heart and must involve sacrifice. Consequently, the amount is irrelevant, as the widow's mite proved. But God wants our offerings to be genuine, sacrificial, and from the heart, as His gifts are toward us.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting that we have been marking nearly 6,000 years since Abel's offering was accepted and Cain's offering was rejected by God, an event revealing the carnal proclivity for jealousy leading to the first murder, reminds us that the Bible clearly shows that the requirement for the offering was in-force at the time of Adam and Eve. Cain's penalty was banishment from his family. An offering is a gift given to God. Seven times a year, we are required to appear before the Lord with a gift, and not empty-handed. The gift is protocol, opening the door to the King's presence, establishing a relationship. Offerings —gifts—are transactions that bring people together. We are giving back to God only what God has already given to us. The offerings unify the whole group. A quality, acceptable offering involves faith, proper valuation, and righteousness, being cheerfully given with a measure of sacrifice.
Members of God's church are required to give offerings during God's holy days (Deuteronomy 16:16), and we are told to give as we are able (verse 17). Both we and God will get more out of our offerings, especially spiritually, when we plan our giving.
Sometimes small things make big impacts. Such a small thing was Simon of Cyrene's carrying of Christ's cross. Do we in God's church today consider our "smallness" to be a blessing or a curse?
We tend to forget how different holy days and their offerings were under the Old Covenant as compared to the New. However, the important part of giving offerings remains the same!
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