Read – 2 Samuel 24
Focus on verse 24
It is a common practice for many who follow Jesus to give ten percent of their income to the local church they attend. This is the Old Testament principle of the tithe — which means literally “tenth”. There are also occasion where church members are challenged to give in addition to this tithe for special projects ranging from funding missions projects overseas, to replacing a failing air conditioner in the church building. These gifts are given as a sacrifice over and above the tithe. What kind of a sacrifice would it be to me, if I took your paycheck and dropped it in the offering plate for a special offering?
In today’s reading David is instructed to offer a sacrifice to the Lord at Araunah’s threshing floor, where the plague that was killing people had stopped. David offers to purchase the plot of land and the supplies need for the offering, but Aruanah offers to donate it all for the king. The king’s response reflects his understanding that a sacrifice is not a sacrifice if it costs the giver nothing.
But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (v. 24)
There is a cost involved when offering a sacrifice to the one making the sacrifice. For David to accept Araunah’s generous offer without insisting to pay for it would have made it “Araunah’s sacrifice to the Lord” rather than David’s.
In our current context we no longer offer animals or birds in a burnt offering, but rather give a tithe or offering out of our income most often in the form of money. What kind of offering would it be for me to take what belongs to someone else and offer it to the Lord? What kind of sacrifice is it when we offer God a little of what we have left over after we have paid all our bills and gratified most of our wants?
It would seem that there might be some credence to giving from our “first fruits”, that is, to take the “sacrifice” that we desire to offer to God off the top first, and then steward the rest appropriately to pay our bills and provide for our families in a way that honors God. In order for a sacrifice to be a sacrifice, it must cost us something. If it does not, how is it a sacrifice for us to give it?