We just got back from a 2 week trip to Thailand. I was struck while we were there by the number of shrines like this one with food and/or drink offerings.
One early morning as I walked past this hotel shrine on my way to the beach, I thought about the word “offering” and what it means. Why do people offer gifts to gods or idols? What are they hoping to receive as a result of the gift? And what are their fears if they neglect to offer it?
Wondering about how the word “offering” is a part of my personal relationship with our One True God, I began to silently sing “Offering" by Third Day. And then a penetrating question from God: “Do I have your heart? Your whole heart?”
As we began our flight from Bangkok back to China, I read this interesting article in the Global Times newspaper (February 28-March 1):
“Chinese traditionally offer worship to holy figures at the start of the lunar new year, who they believe can bring them fortune and prosperity. During the just ended Spring Festival holidays, many devout believers visited temples on Xijiao Mountain, Foshan, Guangdong Province, and donated to the monks there. One man, perhaps thinking that the gods needed better telecommunications, even tried to put his iPhone 6 into the collection box, but the monks refused it. Religious offerings are a long-held tradition, adding flavor to the spirit of the Chinese New Year. But one can just offer worship with a sincere heart rather than waste money on material goods.”
To just offer worship with a sincere heart. Is that an easy thing to do? Oh, that we could offer sincere worship--not to the gods in hopes of receiving fortune or prosperity—but to the Creator of the universe, because He is worthy of all our praise. Isn't that what God desires in His relationship with us? Not our money or our “stuff” if our hearts are cold and far from Him.
David penned this prayer of repentance: “You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)
In this Chinese New Year of the Ram, may we lift our eyes to the Lamb of God who gave His life as an offering on our behalf. I want to offer Him my whole heart. To hold nothing back from Him.
This is my offering.