Summary: Giving sacrificially, in light of God’s grace, is a great reflection of Who God is and accomplishes more than we can realize at the time
It’d been a hard winter in the Appalachian Mountains. Snow had piled up deeper and deeper, it turned bitter cold, rivers froze, people were suffering. The Red Cross used helicopters to fly in supplies. One crew had been working day after day--long hours. They were on their way home late in the afternoon when they saw a little cabin submerged in the snow, a thin whisp of smoke coming from the chimney. The rescue team figured they were probably about out of food, fuel, maybe medicine. Because of the trees they had to put the helicopter down a mile away. They put on heavy packs with emergency supplies, trudged through heavy snow, waist deep, to reach the cabin, exhausted. Panting, sweating, they pounded on the door. A thin, gaunt mountain woman opened the door and the lead man gasped, "Mam, we’re from the Red Cross!" She was silent for a moment and then she said, "It’s been a hard winter, Sonny, I just don’t think we can give anything this year.”
Ever said those words, or something like them? Before I say anything else about “sacrificial giving” this morning, let’s try to define “sacrifice.” Sometimes, in our relatively comfortable lives, it’s easy for us to lose track of the meaning of “sacrifice.”
Ill - A pig and a hen were walking down a country road when they came across a billboard. It advertised, “Bacon and eggs, the great American breakfast!” The hen said, “Isn’t it nice that we get to make a contribution to something important like that?” The pig said to the hen, “What you call a contribution is a sacrifice for me!”
In baseball, a sacrifice is when a batter intentional gets an out, but as he does someone else advances a base. He takes an out for the good of the team. That’s a sacrifice.
The story of David we’re looking at this morning helps us get a better handle on this subject. I recognize this morning that talking about sacrificial giving isn’t everyone’s favorite subject. It’s not always easy to give just what we consider “required” of us, let alone to give beyond that, or then to give to the point where we’d call it sacrificial. But then there are all those nagging examples of it floating around us! What do we do with all that? How do we live, or how should we live?
My hope this morning is to see a few points about sacrificial giving that will help us appreciate its place in our lives.
I. God’s grace doesn’t remove our need to give
When we turn to an OT event to talk about giving, right away there’s a challenge. We don’t do animal sacrifices anymore.
The law…can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship…it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
When Jesus came and gave Himself as the final sacrifice, once and for all, animal sacrifices were no longer a part of the plan. Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross. Jesus gave Himself as the perfect lamb. Jesus superseded the Law and, His death instituted a 2nd chance for people who had blown it. It’s called grace.
Even though he was living 1,000 years before the birth of Christ, David grasped God’s grace at this point in his life. David understood that, if he was going to be judged just by law, he was a lost cause. That’s because he lusted after a woman, committed adultery with her, making her pregnant, tried to cover it up by arranging for her husband’s death, and then took her as his wife, and went on like nothing had happened. All the while, David’s insides were eating him alive. It’s most likely what he was writing about in…
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
By Law, David should have been killed more than one time. Instead, he received grace. So, we look at David as someone who had at least some concept of God’s grace at this point. It was David who wrote:
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.