“I WILL NOT SACRIFICE TO GOD THAT WHICH COST ME NOTHING”
These noble words sprang from the lips of none other than King David as he was offered a sacrificial burnt offering free of charge to be given to God. 2 Sam. 24:24.
There are a great many instances in both the Old and New Testament of the truth that if it doesn’t cost the giver something significant, it’s not much of a gift at all, just a hollow gesture. And it doesn’t have to be something tangible. It might well be a service to someone that really takes up time and effort and/or money, and if it’s given freely, it will cost the giver, but it will really count as a gift. Several names come to mind. Remember Esther? She risked her life to save her people. If the king didn’t extend the welcome scepter to her, it would cost her life. “If I die, I die.” She did not offer a sacrifice that cost her nothing.
And Rahab helped the Israelites escape knowing full well she would lose her life if she were caught. And Abigail took a terrible chance feeding David’s army. Her brute of a husband would have destroyed her and the Israelite army as well. Her gift had a price tag she was willing to pay.
And Stephen’s gift to God (witnessing unafraid) cost him his life. And the poor widow who put all her food money in the basket at the temple did not make a sacrifice that cost her nothing. The younger brother, when he came to himself in the far country, starving and repenting, said to his father, “I am no longer worthy to be your son. Make me one of your hired servants.” He knew the sacrifice he was offering had to be paid for. Sacrifices offered to God that don’t cost the giver anything aren’t really gifts—they are hollow mockeries.
There’s an old saying heard among the ancient saints, “Give until it hurts.”
Yes, if it costs one nothing, that’s what it’s worth as a gift to God. The striking judgment scene in Matt. 25:34ff is a powerful picture of the necessity of loving and giving and serving one another. It has to do with things like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, taking the stranger in, etc., and those things cost time and money. If we obey the Second Commandment, we won’t be caught saying to the hungry person, “Go and be filled.” We’ll take care of it and not offer our God a sacrifice that costs us nothing.