Thursday, January 17, 2013

Offerings and Confessions

(Random thoughts for Sunday's Contemplative Service)

When I think of what I've heard over the years about offerings, it can be summed up as follows:

In the bible, people offered the first fruits of their harvest, the best of their time and talents. I've heard countless sermons where I was exalted to offer my best because only that was good enough for God - who gave his best for us. Any offering that wasn't the best was rejected.

Confession on the other hand was about listing your deep, darkest places and asking for forgiveness.

With confession, I speak to God, say sorry and trust that God has wiped the slate clean. The challenge for me is to believe that I am forgiven, and to not do the action again.

When I make an offering of something, I am surrendering ownership. The item (talent, possession etc) is no longer in my control. My relationship with the offering changes, I am no longer the Owner, just the Steward, holding it in trust for whatever God wants to do with it.

Well that's the theory, I wish it were that simple.

I'm becoming aware of two things:

First the act of offering takes a life time. I give areas over to God for His control and then I take them back.....or I become aware that I haven't offered them completely. I give as much of my life as I understand to as much of God as I understand. I am always growing in awareness of God and myself, and my offering is related to my awareness.

Second, I am trying to transform my Confessions into Offerings. Surrendering ownership of the the action, attitude etc. Giving over my attachment to it and its perceived benefits. Theologically I believe that God receives the worst as well as the best of me, but experientially I still find myself looking for ways to clean myself up before I give things over. If I can transform my confession into offerings the parts of me that seem furthest from God's design can become places of worship and encounter with God.

God offers daily bread to us. I offer myself daily to Him, grateful that He offers freely with no conditions and requirements. I'm learning to do the same.