More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

January 22, 2014

Phl 4:18

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

 

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice


Is the Lord only interested in our tithes and offerings that we give out of obligation and legalism?  Tithes and offerings are a good thing to bring unto the Lord, but what is God looking for?  Is it just money and our substance?  In Hosea 6:6 God says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  Often in the law of our traditions, we, like Israel of old are only concerned with carrying out the ceremony and doing our duty.  God tells His people your duty has no relevance if you don’t have a revelation of what the significance of the duty is about.  God doesn’t need our money.  He is the Creator of all things and all things are His possession.  The possession that He doesn’t own is that which He gave to us to choose to whom we give it too.  That is our soul and will.  If we bring our offering, but it is not an expression of our soul and our will then it is not acceptable to God.  

We have all had experiences with others where they may have did what we said or expected, but their heart and their will was not in it; especially within our own family.  Love gives from the heart, not just out of obligation.  The sweet smell of our sacrifice is when it comes from the love of our heart.  Song of Solomon 4:10 says, “ How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”  What was it that made, in type, the Lord’s bride better than wine and all spices?  It was her love.  The Lord so loves us and He proved that by giving Himself for us.  Now it is our opportunity and privilege to express back to Him our love for Him in every way.  When we offer up the sacrifice of praise from a heart of love, worship and praise then it is like that sweet smelling incense that was burned upon the altar.  We are like that altar, made of flesh, but covered in the nature and gold of God’s character and likeness.  We are the instrument upon which is offered the sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord.  

Paul experienced this same type of sacrificial giving from the Philippians in Philippians 4:18.  Paul, who had sacrificially given of His life to the church was now experiencing back a sacrifice that he knew came out of a heart of love and caring.  I believe his words are expressive of how the Lord sees the sacrifices that we bring Him that comes out of a right attitude of heart and love.  

In Exodus 30: 7-8 the Word says, “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”  God is looking and desiring an incense that will arise continually from that altar of His people.  The incense of a broken and contrite heart that functions in the love and fear of God.  The incense of continual worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration of the One who gave it all.  Our lives, how they are lived and expressed, have the ability to be that sweet smelling incense that rises up into the nostrils of the Father.  It is in the expression of our love that he delights and it is in this expression that our offerings and sacrifices are acceptable unto Him.  

 
Blessings,
kent
%d bloggers like this: