Can an Offering Not be “Costly”?

In 2 Samuel 24, David asks for a census of the population which ultimately leads to judgment by God, with the death of thousands of people through a plague. The plague is stopped by an angel on a wheat threshing floor. David wants to buy the threshing floor and set up an altar as a memorial to God. The owner of the threshing floor offers to give David the property and the oxen and the wood and David says this: 24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” It is the last sentence that I’d like to focus on. Can we offer something that costs us nothing?

So many times we think that we are giving an offering when it really doesn’t cost us anything does it? For the vast majority of people, the money they give to a local church isn’t really costly. It barely makes a dent in their increasing standard of living, let alone decreasing their standard or putting them in any financial disadvantage. The amount of hours that most people might donate to their church in service is only a fraction of the hours they spend watching TV or surfing the internet in any given week. And yet we often talk about the word “offering” and wonder why things don’t go the way we want, as if we’ve somehow earned a reward from God.

David has in mind a different kind of offering, one that truly cost him something. I believe his mindset needs to be our mindset. So, if you are willing to get serious with God, ask yourself the question, “Is the time and money and emotional energy I give to God really costing me something? If not, can it be a sacrifice? I don’t think so…an offering, by definition, needs to be costly…at least that’s how I see it.


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