How Does the Lord Value Your Gift?
The Lord does not value the gifts He receives in the same way that man values gifts. The exception perhaps is a mother valuing gifts she has received from her children. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in church during the obligatory sermon on tithing to your church just to see some un-Biblical practice being followed.
Give in Secret
On one occasion, the pastor of the church we attended thought that he would encourage the congregation to give by being an example. He held up the check that he was going to donate to the cause (I don’t even remember what that cause was) and declared that he was starting the offering by giving $100.
The first thing that came to mind was the Lord’s instruction on giving to the poor:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:1-2
When you give, you are not to broadcast what you give. It is between you and the Lord. To be fair, this occurrence was not the norm, but it does happen. At other times, a single person would be made an example of. They might give a significant donation and a building might be named in their honor. Occasionally a person would give with the intention of obtaining that honor in their name or a name of a person they respected. This ought not be done. The Lord is very clear that when you give to the Lord, only you and the Lord should be involved. There will obviously be others who know, because someone has to cash the check or deposit the money, but there should be no recognition or even gossip about the gift. Certainly, there should be no bragging.
Example 1 of How Gift is Valued
So we know what not to do, but how is the gift valued? We learn this from two examples in scripture:
“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Luke 21:1-4
The Lord specifically stated that the widow’s gift had more value than all the others combined. While others gave out of their abundance, her gift was given out of her very life. She had given the Lord her ability to feed and clothe herself. That is not to say that the other’s gift was not valued by the Lord but only that her gift was valued above all the others.
Example 2 of How Gift is Valued
For another example, we can also look to King David himself:
“All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, 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. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” – 2 Samuel 24:23-24
Here, David has transgressed against the Lord and is required to make a sacrifice. He finds the property as directed by the Lord. This is the threshing floor that will eventually become the Temple site. The owner of the property, Araunah, understands why David is purchasing the property and also offers King David the oxen to sacrifice. David declines the offer because he understands that the sacrifice must cost him. He cannot offer what is not his.
Conclusions About Giving to the Lord
This leads us to two conclusions about giving to the Lord:
- It is the giver, not the receiver, who determines the value of the gift.
- The gift must be wholly owned by the giver to have any value.
Two men, both giving $100 offering to the Lord are not giving the same thing. One may earn $30,000/year and the other make earn $150,000/year. Which one gave more? Obviously the one who had less. If you think about it, these only make sense. God gave His son as a sacrifice to redeem us from our bondage to sin. As appreciative as we may be, we cannot place a value on that gift; only the Lord can do this.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
The Value of a Gift That Redeems
We have trouble understanding the value of a gift that redeems our own soul. How can we hope to understand the value of a gift that was intended for the whole world? Only the owner of that gift knows how much the gift cost. The whole point of a sacrifice is that it must cost the giver something. It must have some form of loss to the owner that is associated with it. Had David accepted Araunah’s offer, Araunah would have been the one to feel the sacrifice and loss associated with David’s gift. No, a gift to the Lord must be a sacrifice in order to be valued. That value before the Lord is determined by how much the gift cost you, personally.
Remember, the Lord already owns it all. He does not need any material thing that you can easily give Him. The only thing He wants is your heart and whole being.
Applications for Consideration
Let’s consider some applications of the Lord’s valuation, now that we have an understanding of it. How many times have you heard of or seen someone play the lottery and say, “If the Lord will let me win, I’ll donate <some value> of the winnings back to Him”. Even if the Lord were to allow that person to win and they won millions of dollars, donating it entirely to their church or some mission, what do you think the value of that gift to the Lord would be? It would be exactly what that person paid for it, which in most cases is about one dollar. That might be a lot if the person is destitute, but in most cases one dollar is not worth very much.
What about when a person receives an inheritance from a rich uncle or even their own father? Should they pay tithe or offer a portion of it as a gift to the Lord? There is nothing keeping them from doing that, and there is nothing inherently wrong if they do so. But realize that the value of the gift to the Lord is exactly what that gift cost you. If you paid nothing for it, it is worth nothing to the Lord. You cannot get credit for something that other people did.
Four Types of Giving
We’ve now established what is necessary to start giving to the Lord as well as how the Lord values those gifts. Let’s take a look at what the Bible specifically says are acceptable gifts. There are four basic forms of giving outlined.
Leviticus is a great place to learn about offerings to the Lord. Even though we no longer make animal sacrifices at the Temple, the rules set in place are very specific and directly applicable to making any offering of any gift to the Lord.
As previously noted, if the giver wishes to give an offering to the Lord, he must first own the offering.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.” Leviticus 1:2
At the time, wealth was measured in how much livestock you owned. We can easily apply that to ourselves today. Rather than livestock, our culture has accepted the substitute of money, whether printed or not. If you want to bring an offering to the Lord, you do not have to convert your wealth into an oxen or sheep. You simply bring a portion of your abundance. It does not matter if your wealth is denominated in time, treasures, or talents. They are all acceptable offerings. Offerings can also be made for a variety of reasons. In Biblical times, when the Temple sacrifices were operating, a person was often required to make an offering because they had offended the Lord and it was part of the restitution.
Offerings were also made when you just feel that the Lord has laid it upon your heart to do so, and this still applies today. Offerings are typically prompted by the Lord. When you hear of someone saying “I just felt the Lord wanted me to …”, that is an offering.
Remember that to be considered a gift from you, you must meet these criteria:
- You must own the gift outright. You can’t give something that belongs to someone else.
- To be valued by the Lord, the gift must be a sacrifice. It must cost you something.
- You should not be announcing what your gift is to everyone around you.
Not Just Monetary
It is also important to remember that offerings are not just monetary. Are you a carpenter or contractor? Can you donate your skills and time to repair buildings for other believers, especially widows and orphans and those in need? Do you have a sweet voice and a good ear for music? How about leading worship or being the cantor for your group. Are you good at keeping track of money and know how to keep your mouth shut? How about spending your time dealing with church finances or volunteering to help members of your congregation learn how to budget. A sacrifice is more than just a monetary cost to you. It can be a sacrifice of your time, talents, or treasures.
There are some offerings that are accepted but not valued by the Lord. As previously discussed, offerings that don’t meet these three requirements can be valid offerings, but they are not valued nor credited to you when you make them. If you inherit a large sum of money and give half of it to the Lord, you don’t get credit for that. If you invest that inherited money and give from the increase that you receive from that investment, whether the investment be monetary, physical or otherwise, then you get credit for that portion that comes from the increase.
Since an offering comes prompted by the Lord, it can be used for any purpose that the Lord desires. The examples that we see in the bible tends to be toward the upkeep and maintenance of buildings, supporting foreign missions, community outreach and things like that. They tend to be things that are not regularly occurring things, though they can be.
There is also a class of offerings that are despised by the Lord. Gain from sinful ventures is not valued at all.
“Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” – Deuteronomy 23:18
This is more than just declaring that prostitutes can not give offerings. That verse tells us that the offering must be honorable. Don’t expect to rob a bank and then get credit with the Lord for giving an offering from the proceeds of the robbery. The Lord despises sin and will not value or even accept an offering that is derived from sin or sinful ventures.
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.” – Matthew 27:3-7
The reason the priests couldn’t put the money into the treasury of the Temple is because of this prohibition of using the proceeds of sin to fund the things of the Lord. The priests knew that was the origin of the 30 pieces of silver because they had participated in that sinful act. We can also learn from this that an apostate believer and any gift that comes from him, is equivalent to a harlot’s wages. The Lord does not respect it.
Video of Unacceptable Offering
I often use this YouTube video to demonstrate an “unacceptable” offering to the Lord. Everything about this short clip screams that is is an abomination unto the Lord. It’s only about three minutes long, but they hit everything that you should not do.
Tomorrow, I cover the other three types of giving to the Lord that are outlined in Scripture. We’ll start with the big one – Tithing. See you then!
- 1 – A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 1, by R2
- 2 – A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 2, by R2
- 4 – A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 4, by R2
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part three of a four part entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
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- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
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- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.