Sacrifice requires something. If there’s not a something, there’s not a sacrifice. David was adamant that he would make a purchase for an offering, that it would cost him something. In 2 Samuel 24:24, we read: “But the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (ESV).
We have a different situation happening in 1 Kings 12:28, whereby the king was worried that people would be going to Jerusalem to worship and would end up being drawn away from him. We read: “So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, ‘It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!’” (NLT). The king wanted to keep the people near him so he sinfully made idols for the people to worship. These calves were to be in the place of taking the trip to Jerusalem, making the sacrifice of the trip. Now these people didn’t realize the reason behind the king’s request, only that he said it was too much trouble for them.
This shortcut for worship reminds me of digging into the pantry for a food donation drive, finding the cans of the food you somehow purchased and would never eat. It’s food. You have it. You really don’t want it. When you give it away, you aren’t going to even think out it. You were never going to eat it anyway. Or how about when you’re at a donation jar and you look for the smallest increments of change possible? Just to give a little. Yes, people need to eat and those canned food items will bless someone. Yes, your loose change added with others will help make a difference. However, these are not true sacrifices. Donations, yes. Sacrifices, not really. It did not mean anything to you. These were the leftovers, an afterthought. The journey to Jerusalem required something and was a blessing too.
This brings up a question for us to ask ourselves. Is it too much trouble for us? Is something keeping us from making the sacrifice we are being led to make? Are we taking the easy way out rather than doing what we are meant to be doing? Are we offering that which costs nothing? Are we giving leftovers in life? Do we even feel anything because of the sacrifice? Is our heart even in it? Sacrifice always requires something. What are you doing with your something today?