Don’t Come Before the Lord Empty-Handed

*written by my Mommy, Betty A. Key

I would like to share three areas to apply to our hearts on the subject of giving. These came from my notes in the first of the stewardship series recently taught by my pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles Goodman, of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Augusta, GA.: Doing It God’s Way, Deuteronomy 16:16b-17 and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

By giving to God our hearts show him three things: our honor, our gratitude, and  our dependence

1. Honor: Sometimes honor and glory are used interchangeably and they are quite close. But there is a significant difference. Glory is the intrinsic value of something. Glory belongs to God because it is Who He is: glorious and valuable. Giving shows God how much we value and honor Him. If we don’t see much value in God we give small offerings: Short or no prayer. Little or no service. Small, if any financial giving.  If we see His value as middle of the road, our giving is likewise. But if we value God as mighty, powerful, awesome, and great, our giving will honor Him sometimes till it hurts. And even in the hurt.

2.  Our gratitude: Offering our gifts to God, tells God how grateful we are for Him and the things He has done, is doing and will do on our behalf. Telling God “Thank You” is not based on the condition of our harvest; not based on whether we received a “blessing” or not. We are blessed! Therefore, we are grateful. Offering gifts says, “In everything I give thanks”. I know that You didn’t have to keep me, but I’m thankful that you did. You didn’t have to help me raise my children, but I’m grateful that you did. You didn’t have to save my soul, but I’m so very thankful you did. I’m grateful for our relationship, for that reason I give.

3. Our dependency: This is a hard concept these days because our culture promotes the independent spirit; that you pull yourself by your boot straps. If that were true, the woman with the issue of blood didn’t need to touch His garment’s hem. The man at the pool wouldn’t have been at the pool in the first place. Our giving tells the Lord that we acknowledge that everything we have, everything we are, and everything we hope to be depends upon His grace and mercy. Like the widow with the tiniest bit of oil in her cruse and a handful of meal in the barrel, we give because we trust that our Father meets our needs. Every time we give an offering; when we serve at the soup kitchen; each time we give and encouraging word or smile; whenever we work as unto the Lord, we are reminded of our dependence on God: “If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side, where would I be? God gave His Son. His Son gave His life. Where would we be without that amazing gift? We depend upon and trust God for our very lives. 

Looking at giving to the Lord from these three aspects can alter the way we give: our motive for giving can change altogether or at least be fortified. We can move to a new dimension by declaring to give we want to honor God’s glory; because we want Him to know we’re grateful; and we acknowledge our trust and dependency on Him. I won’t come before the Lord empty handed or empty-hearted. How about you?

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