Pastor’s April Messenger
What Does God Need?
Don’t give to God what he doesn’t need. The Lord tells us:
Every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
Shall I eat the flesh of bulls
Or drink the blood of goats?
[PSALM 50; FROM THE INTROIT OF THE 3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER]
If we bring any gift because we think God needs it, we may leave that gift behind. He doesn’t need it. He’s not hungry, that he needs to buy food, not thirsty, that he needs to buy drink, and everything on the face of the Earth, including our property, our cars, bank accounts—everything—is his anyway. There is nothing here but that he created it, nothing we have but that he gives it.
So what will we give him? It’s all transitory anyway—here today, gone tomorrow. What do we have that will last? What can we accumulate that we can keep?
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls.
[1 PETER 1:24, OF THE EPISTLE FOR EASTER 3]
The Perishable and the Imperishable
So what will we give God? To God, there is that which is perishable, and that which is precious and imperishable; that which is temporary and withers, and that which re-mains and endures.
What is temporary is grass and things of this world. What remains and cannot be torn down is … his Word:
The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
[1 PETER 1:25]
What is perishable is that which is subject to this world’s decay and destruction: silver and gold, human accomplishments and possessions. What is imperishable and precious is that which is not subject to this world’s destruction. 1 Peter 1:19:
You were redeemed not with perishable things such as silver or gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless.
[1 PETER 1:19]
What Does Our Lord Give to Us?
So what will we give to God? The question might be better put, What does he give to us?
God has given for us his own Son, who has ransomed us not with silver or gold, but with his own precious blood. This is the love of God: for us, who have nothing to give to him, who stand before him as nothing but sinners, he has given the most precious thing of all, his only-begotten Son whom he loves.
We now are his. Ransomed by his Son’s sacrifice, sanctified by that precious blood, purified by his righteousness, we are now his, our families and our children, all those baptized into him.
We are his—the entirety and whole of each one of us, body, soul, and spirit, mind and abilities, time and talents, property and possessions. This is not split up into pieces, it is a whole, nothing left out, nothing we can claim as our own, nothing hidden away with our hands covering it, as if it’s not his. Anything less than this recognition is a denial of Jesus and his cross, where he redeemed us from our sin and shame, purchasing us not with silver or gold, but with his own precious blood.
Our offerings are given because they are his offerings, his way of using us and the gifts he gives us to serve others. They are given because we are his, and all that we have is from him and belongs to him. And as we consider our offerings, we may consider, not what we must give to God, but rather, what the Lord desires to give to all sinners. And we may rejoice in our Lord honoring us to be his servants to take care of his church and to serve our neighbor.
In the Name of Jesus,
Rev. Warren W. Graff
June 28, 2018
June 01, 2018