Offering Vows

Most times when Jesus addressed old law and new grace he increased the standard because he tied in more directly to the expression of love for God and our neighbours. We see this play out today in this discussion of our offerings to God and fulfilling our vows…

39 “‘In addition to what you vow and your freewill offerings, offer these to the Lord at your appointed festivals: your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings.’”

1 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.
Numbers 29:39, 30:1-2

Moses lists out, at God’s command, all the festivals and offerings in Numbers 28-29.  Each one reminds us of our position before God: our sinfulness, God’s holiness, our need to be reminded of God’s rescue of us… our worship celebrations keeping teaching us that which we will quickly forget in terms of our relationship with God.

And then in his summary, we see that these offerings are to be made in addition to our freewill offerings and what we pledge/vow.  In other words, Israel was to fulfill all these festivals and offerings, and then still keep other vows they made and keep bringing freewill (including spontaneous) offerings before God.

How many people operate this way today?  Or do we do the math to figure out what the total giving will be for the year or season and then allocate it toward different areas when projects are promoted at church?  Does general offering in a church decrease when there are times of special offering for the missions trip or the new children’s centre or the community support project?

Just to be clear, we aren’t under the Mosaic Law today around giving offerings or anything else.  Phew… the law of grace in Jesus operates different from the law of Moses.  Yet, in case you think that makes it easier, most times when Jesus addressed old law and new grace he increased the standard because he tied in more directly to the expression of love for God and our neighbours.

And so when we learn from Jesus that we are to give to God what is God’s (Luke 20:25), we see that the standard of giving is different and higher.  Our view of God’s ownership of everything dictates that our giving has no end.  When we give special offerings, there is no reason for our regular commitments to slow down.

And if we have faith that God will supply all our needs (which is part of the reminder of Israel’s celebrations of these feasts and festivals), we ought not be concerned that we will give ourselves into being short.  God’s blessings replenish our needs when we are giving all to him (be cautious if you are giving money and not your life, however, because the math of this concept is based on giving our lives first and our finances following).


Marc Kinna

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