Why Worship? Why Give?
Verse: Genesis 28:16–22
Author Mark Allan Powell addresses the fundamental principle behind Biblical giving: “The patriarch Jacob experiences God’s presence in a dream and, not knowing what else to do, sets up a stone and pours oil over the top of it (Ge 28:16–18).” Powell points out that early Old Testament people “who had been touched by the goodness of God wanted to worship God, and they did that by taking something that belonged to them and giving it to God in the only way they knew how.” Later Powell discusses giving as it relates to those of us in the new covenant:
God may be pleased, indeed delighted, with us even if we are giving the wrong amount, even if [we] are giving to unworthy or inappropriate causes. As we learn more about stewardship, of course, we will want to grow in those respects. We can spend a lifetime trying to find better ways of fulfilling God’s expectations. But, for starters, our principal concern in giving should not be where to give, or how to give, or how much to give. First, let us focus on the why. If we give with hearts full of devotion for the God who loves us, then the questions of where and how and how much will work themselves out in time.
I once served as a pastor in a congregation where the people wanted me to visit all of the “inactive members”…
All of the people I visited told me in one way or another that they had quit coming to church because they weren’t “getting out of it” whatever it was that they thought they should…
This surprised me because when I was a child and my family went to church on Sunday morning, my mother used to tell us, “We are going to worship God”…
And now that I am (a lot) older, I have discovered something else. When people do this—when they come to church to worship God—something wonderful happens. They invariably discover that they are much more likely to get something out of the experience than if they had come for any other reason. I don’t know why this is—maybe God just has a sense of irony. Or maybe the point is that one of our greatest needs is to worship God…
So, worship is essential to faith. But I have also said that sacrifice is essential to worship. Why is that? Because worship, almost by definition, is the opposite of self-centeredness. Doing this always involves some element of self-denial or sacrifice, giving up something that we value, giving up attention to our wants and our needs in order to focus on God…
When we give cheerfully as an act of worship, the very act of giving moves us to lose interest in ourselves and to devote ourselves to God.
Think About It
•Why do you go to church?
•How does your attitude affect your ability to worship God?
•In your experience, how are worship and giving related?
Pray About It
Lord, search my heart. Show me any attitudes, thoughts, emotions or motives that need to change so that I may worship you in love.
This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.