When I was young, living at home with my parents, everything I had or owned was given to me. Apart from what my parents gave me, I had no means to obtain anything. As I grew older, occasionally I could do a large job that would earn me money. Years later, I got an actual outside-the-home job and earned enough money to purchase a car and other items that I wanted.
Over the years I realized that things that I purchased on my own were of inestimable more value than those that were simply given to me. I cherished the possessions that I worked to earn more highly than the others. Why? Because I had an actual investment in them. Part of me: my skills, intelligence, giftings, time and education helped me obtain those things. I had labored to make them mine.
Near the very end of the book of 2 Samuel, King David made a great and memorable statement. “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
David was about to offer a sacrifice to God to avert a plague that was devastating the nation of Israel. The sacrifice was to take place on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. That location was by God’s directive. And Araunah offered to give King David the oxen for the sacrifice and even the wood to burn the sacrifice. “All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king…. The Lord your God accept you.” (2 Samuel 24:23)
But David wouldn’t hear of it. He responded, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” (vs. 24)
David recognized that offerings that cost nothing were worth nothing. If it wasn’t something in which he had an actual investment, then it wasn’t worth giving.
So let me make this personal. Do you make an actual investment in your worship, or is it just a ritual with no real forethought?