Through the years I have wondered why some people really enjoy serving the Lord and others act like it’s a great burden and major inconvenience. It always comes back to the heart. When we serve God out of a heart of love for Him, serving is a joy and brings a “sweetness” to our soul. However, when we serve merely out of obligation, just going through the motions, we derive no joy. God, in His wisdom, knows that serving is important for us, so He allows us the privilege of giving back to Him. He gives us the opportunity to sacrifice to Him in such ways as praying, giving, or working. To receive God’s blessings, such sacrifices are not merely to be done, but to be done God’s way. The Book of Leviticus has a lot to teach us about sacrifices. The repeated theme of Leviticus is how to live holy before God. Since this book was part of the Law given by God for the people of Israel before the coming of Christ, we understand that we do not offer the same types of sacrifices as they did. But, the principle of giving to God and God receiving our sacrifices is still the same. God wants us to give in the right way and with a right heart. For example, Leviticus 19:5 says, “When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf.” In the next few verses, God gives specific instructions about how to carry out the fellowship offering. So, the Lord is revealing here that our actions need to be in the right way and the “right spirit.” As I consider my life as a pastor, I don’t want to just be “busy” doing a lot of things for God. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit to invest my life in sacrificial labor, AND, to do this in the right way and with a right heart. The most important aspect of sacrifice is for it to be accepted by God. For example, some people give time, money, or “lip-service” to God, hoping their sacrifice will somehow prompt God to overlook their sinful and selfish lifestyle (trying to make “the good outweigh the bad”). Our feeble attempts to cover our guilt or sin don’t work. Jesus died as The Sacrifice to save us from sin. Our sacrifices are simply responses to His grace, the giving of gratitude to the One who gives us life and peace. The Psalmist summarizes the desire for God’s acceptance by saying, “May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings” (Psalm 20:3). Serve the Lord with gladness and holiness.
Pastor Mark Boucher