When foreign diplomats or heads of state come to America to see top U.S. officials, they customarily come bearing gifts. These gifts range from simple chocolates, to jewelry or artwork worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. By law, these gifts must be turned over to the national archives. However, “in all cases, officials accepted the lavish items because ‘non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S.’, according to the document provided by the State Department.” There is usually no attempt to bribe the recipient. Instead, it is a proper custom, rooted in thousands of years, intended to demonstrate respect, appreciation, gratitude, or honor. For instance, when the Queen of Sheba came to see for herself the greatness of Solomon, she came with “spices and very much gold, and precious stones” (I Kings 10:2).
Throughout the Scriptures, God consistently teaches that true worship of the Lord always includes giving gifts back to Him. David would not accept someone else giving him animals to sacrifice to the Lord. He said, “I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which cost me nothing” (II Samuel 24:24). Likewise, when the wise men came “to worship” the newborn Savior, they “opened their treasures, (and) they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:2,11). The principle is the same in today’s Dispensation of Grace. The Apostle Paul urged the Corinthians to be certain, to regularly and consistently, give back to the Lord “upon the first day of the week” (I Corinthians 16:1-3; II Corinthians 8:7, 9:6-8).
There is an important practical lesson for us here that we should not miss. When we worship the Lord, we should worship Him first by giving ourselves to Him as His servants (II Corinthians 8:5). We should also come with praise and acknowledgment of His greatness. But proper worship of the Lord should always proceed from a thankful heart for all His abundant blessings and include willingly giving back to Him financially, as God has prospered us. When you worship the Lord this week, don’t forget to give Him gifts worthy of His name and all He has done for you. Our worship is simply not complete without giving.
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