If you are going to follow Jesus, be prepared to give more than you ever thought you would give. And if your heart is locked firmly on your Savior and his life, you’ll probably be surprised by just how much you end up giving – and giving willingly.
The people of Israel spent seven days each year giving of their wealth to God. It was quite extravagant – “and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days.” Thirteen bulls were sacrificed on the first day. Twelve on the second. Eleven on the third. And so on.
More and more. The priests surely were busy. The smell from the sacrifices would have spread through the camp. Everyone could sell this “pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
Christians should get to know this idea, “for we are the aroma of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15). This is the aroma of victory, first and foremost. But it also is the aroma of sacrifice, of men and women giving over their lives – taking up their crosses – to follow Christ. It is the aroma of people who gave more than they, perhaps, thought they ever would.
Too many Christians stop short of this kind of giving. They like to do other things with their time and their money and their energy. They have places to go and people to see and trails to hike and rivers to fish. There is no feast of booths in their year.
We also stop short when we find God calling us to do that “one thing,” whatever it may be, that we really would rather not do – like forgive someone, or tell the truth, or right the wrong. And we rationalize our actions and seek to justify ourselves to ourselves, why we didn’t keep the feast to which God has called us.
Our actions can serve as sacred offerings, without blemish, to God. Even actions that are painful to us, and maybe especially those kinds of actions, can be offerings to God. The point is that we give him more and more of ourselves, holding nothing back.
We do this in gratitude, because God even now is bringing us into his promised rest.