I’m not above regifting. I’ll admit that. I’m sure that everyone has regifted at some point. Someone gives you a gift and you’re thankful for it, but you have no idea what to do with it. Or you’d never use it anyway. And you happen to know someone who would like it. So what do you do? Hold on to something you’d never use when you could give it to someone who would enjoy it?
That’s a no-brainer for me. It’s making good use of your resources. But you can’t turn around and say that it cost you anything. You can’t regift an item and claim that you did anything to earn it.
Today’s verses are 2 Samuel 24:19-25.
So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him. When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. “Why have you come, my lord the king?” Araunah asked. David replied, “I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
“Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the Lord your God accept your sacrifice.”
But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
There’s not time in this brief little devotional to go into the background of this story. Suffice it to say, David had screwed up royally. This was during the later part of his reign when just about every decision he made was the wrong one. But God had given him instructions on how to make things right.
Part of making things right required that he go to a specific place and offer a sacrifice to God, but when David arrived and tried to purchase the piece of land God had identified, the owner didn’t want to sell it. The guy was more than happy to give it away, but David refused and insisted on buying it because David was required to sacrifice. And if it didn’t cost him something personally, it didn’t mean anything.
I think we forget that sometimes. We talk about sacrifice, but when was the last time any of us actually sacrificed something? And I don’t mean like a burnt offering. I mean giving up something or paying the price for something personally that will benefit someone else. Sacrifice means making yourself uncomfortable for other people. It means doing things you wouldn’t normally do in order to help someone else.
Hey, husbands, when was the last time you gave up a night out with your buddies to help your wife with laundry? Wives, when was the last time you agreed to watch the kid so your husband could have a night off? What about your coworkers? When was the last time you accepted an extra project in order to help someone you work with?
You see what I’m saying. Sacrifice isn’t like regifting. You can regift and regift until you’re blue in the face, but it doesn’t mean you’ve sacrificed anything. Until it’s cost you something personally, it doesn’t matter. Until you’ve given up something you wanted, you haven’t sacrificed.
And that’s fine. You don’t have to sacrifice anything. That’s what’s great (or maybe not so great) about America. We live in a culture that never has to sacrifice at all. The typical American doesn’t even know the meaning of the word. Our culture is all about only doing what you want, and if it makes you uncomfortable it’s better to just ignore it or sue it. But as Christ-followers, are we really supposed to live that way?
Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could live comfortably. Jesus died for us so that we could have eternal life, and that life isn’t on Earth. So why do we think we need to be comfortable anyway?
David screwed up a lot in his later years, but one thing he got right. He understood that you can’t regift when it comes to sacrifice. You can’t bring someone else’s hard work before God and claim that it’s yours. It doesn’t work that way. So don’t try it.
What’s awesome about sacrificing for God, though, is that it doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. Maybe it seems like you’re giving something up, but in reality you’re only letting something inferior go so God can replace it with something superior. Maybe you sacrifice, but God blesses.
So don’t be afraid to give something up for God. Maybe it’s your pride. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your perceptions about yourself or others. Just let it go. Maybe it will cost you something personally, but if it’s a sacrifice it’s supposed to.