The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 NASB
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and I am thrilled to know that some of my favorite charities will be offered matching gifts by generous donors. Read through to the end, and I will list a few of my favorites.
But did you realize that the idea of giving an offering goes as far back as Cain and Abel? If we look within our hearts, there is this common feeling of wanting to give back. Thanksgiving is a National Holiday, after all. Even those who argue that there is no God, still have a desire within that longs to say Thank You for good gifts.
Beyond just a “Higher Power” or a benevolent jolly-faced deity who is distant and detached, there is the ONE Creator of this Universe Who has given me more than I ever deserved. And I can see that my unjust way of living, my feeble attempts at goodness, just do not compare to the Holiness of One who would part the Red Sea before His rescued people; One who would defend a lonely widow and her widowed daughter-in-law; One who would stand in the fiery furnace to cover three young men.
That ONE knows all about our failings, and yet He calls us to come. He knows how inadequate our offerings really are, and yet He desires us to give. He gave the example for us as He called the instructions to Moses from the Mount. He sent the vision of the beauty of a meeting place, and then He asked the people to bring their offerings** to create that place.
You know the story. From the highest of heights to the lowest of lows, the people proved their unworthiness. The ways of God were neglected and outright spurned. How could they do that? . . . . How could I do that? . . . . And yet I look away also.
Our Holy Creator longed to be with us, His creation, with such an intense love that He sent His own Son to do what we could never do. The Baby, Emmanuel: God with us, came to dwell, came to live, came to offer the only perfect sacrifice for the justice required from our failings.
After the feel-good-days of America’s Thanksgiving Holiday, and all the talk of what thankfulness really is, we will run helter-skelter into the Christmas rush. And we will forget the Baby as we stand in long lines, or scroll through endless lists of gifts, meant to reflect the giving heart of the Greatest Gift of all.
But deep down we know.
We can never measure up.
Our gifts do not compare with the vision of that star-studded night.
So why would He even ask for my gifts?
Why did He ask for those offerings ages ago?
“Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do” Exodus 35:25-29 NIV
You ask for an offering
We bring what we have
Our skilled working
The best we know
But it falls so short
The vision on the mount
Astounded our eyes
Overwhelmed our senses
A glimpse of Heaven
But still You call
The Voice on High thunders
Transforms our gifts
His Spirit’s fruit
Mingles with earth
And Glory abounds
Again and again He comes to us. Jesus said that He came to bring us life more abundantly. We turn away, and again He comes. Jesus calls us to bring our offerings, to give our best, and when we fall short He supplies the baskets for the all-sufficient leftovers from our 2 fish and 5 loaves. His Grace mingles with our earth.
The Glory of Heaven pours HIS abundance into our meager offerings.
**For more thoughts on the offerings that were gifted for that first Tabernacle, my friend, Anna Smit, and I would be so blessed to have you join us for #TreasuresfromtheSands, the podcast coming in January. And we would so appreciate your prayers that we would joyfully offer our small gifts for what God is asking from us.
Would you pray with me today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You that You gave the example and offered us gifts, the gift of Yourself, and Your very own Dear Son. We are stunned at the depth of what You have given. Forgive us for turning away when You hold Your hands out to us. Would You open our clenched fists to receive the abundance You want to gift us? And, Lord, we are stunned that You desire us to share our small and meager gifts with You. Thank You that You desire us to give, even as You have given to us. Thank You for being the best gift of all–our own Emmanuel.
In the name of Emmanuel, Jesus, we pray,
These are just a few of my favorite and trusted charities:
I am linking this week with: