As Christians, we sometimes discount all of the very specific rules in the book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy because we no longer practice them in the same way. But they are not a moot point. Jesus says that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. But what does this mean?
Leviticus is a book full of Kosher codes and archaic laws for sacrifices and offerings of all types. We no longer sacrifice in the ways believers did thousands of years ago because Jesus came to make atonement on our behalf. But…
Leviticus reminds us of something very important—there is a God who is greater than us, who deserves our very best.
This is both humbling, and an immense relief. We are not gods. And we are not God. We are not ultimately in control (humbling). But we also don’t have to be in control (relief!). As humans, we do not oversee the creation of animals and plants, stars and planets, suns and moons. Our role in creation is finite. Sometimes it feels like our world may be spinning out of control and we think we want nothing more than to control it. But who really wants that job?! Thank God we do not have to be in control of it all!
There is a being higher and mightier than us. And because of this, God deserves our very best. God is holy—we are human. Giving of ourselves in offerings to God reminds us of this fact.
In Levitical law, the Israelites gave certain portions of all of their earnings to God—their crops, their livestock, their goods—as both sacrifices and offerings. Today, we don’t often practice sacrifice (the literal giving of the life of an animal to God), but many people still practice offering.
An offering can be a tithe (10% of earnings given to a place of worship for the work of God in the world). But an offering can also be of resources, time, or self. We offer our selves in worship to God when we commit our time whole-heartedly and single-mindedly to prayer. We offer resources when we care for the least of these in our midst (Matthew 25). We offer our time to God, when we choose to set aside pieces of the day or week to seek God’s voice instead of our own.
One pastor I know decided that he wanted to give his “first fruits” of time to God, just as the Israelites had given their first fruits from their crops and flocks to God. He began waking very early in the morning, and dedicating the first hour of his day to prayer and meditation on scripture, before the milieu of media came grasping for his attention.
Ask yourself, are you giving God your very best? What would it look like to give God your best? Time? Money? Resources? Self?