Sacrifice and offering you did not desire –
    but my ears you have opened; –
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come –
    it is written about me in the scroll
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.’

Psalm 40: 6-8

If one good thing has come out of this current crisis it is that we are being given the opportunity to slow down and change the pace of our lives. Church can be an incredibly busy place. Everything church program needs people to organise and then deliver them. It takes time and hard work. We should also remember so much of this is done by people who are already busy with work and families.

While it is good to serve Christ’s church, we should be wary of falling into the trap of seeing our service as a form of sacrifice or offering which we use to bargain with God. Lord because I have done that or am doing this would you please…

This was the trap so many taking part in the Old Testament sacrificial system fell into. They thought because they had offered a bull, sheep or goat on the altar that God was bound to forgive them. It was as though they were trying to buy forgiveness, or barter with God; forgiveness in return for something God wanted.

Psalm 40 reminds us that God has already been good to us, he has shown us his grace freely and it is not something we can buy or barter for. God does not seek sacrifices and offerings, be they animals on the altar or acts of service in his church. It is not our service God desires, it is us. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.

Maybe having everything we do for God stripped away is a good thing. No more bible studies to go to, youth programs to run, rotas to organise or children’s lessons to prepare. Maybe having nothing to use as a barter with God is a good thing because all we have left to offer is ourselves.

Take time today to reflect on your offerings to God. What is it we are offering to God? The things we do or the people we are? Is it sacrifices and sin offerings we are bringing or ourselves?

Reflect on these words from Micah 6:6-8 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God