“I am about to build a temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever. This must be a magnificent temple because our God is greater than all other gods.” -2 Chronicles 2:4-5 (NLT)
“Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.” -John 12:3 (NLT)
I think it’s safe to say that God – the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, the Creator of the Universe – needs nothing from you and I. Yet, He wants us. He wants our hearts, time, and offerings. At first, this may seem like a burden – God literally doesn’t need anything, yet He still wants something from us? But as you let this truth sink in, you start to realize how amazing that actually is. No, He doesn’t need anything from us, yet He wants us. How is that for a God who pursues us?
In today’s readings, we learn about two separate stories that are connected in a way – they are about offerings. In 2 Chronicles 1-3, Solomon is appointed king after his father David’s death. One of his first acts as king is to build a great temple for the Lord where offerings can be made. Solomon tells a laborer that this will be one of the greatest houses ever made. Did our Father in Heaven need Solomon to build a house for Him here on Earth? Certainly not. But look at where Solomon’s heart is. Being a favorable king of Israel, he could’ve had anything he wished for. Instead, he decided to build a temple as an offering to the Lord.
Let’s fast forward about a thousand years to another example of offering. John 12 begins with a dinner in Bethany where Jesus eats with his friends, disciples, and some Pharisees. In verse 3, we see Mary offering her most expensive perfume to wash Jesus’ feet with. Judas scolds Mary in front of Jesus for wasting her perfume that could’ve been sold in exchange for money for the poor. Jesus reminds him that they will not always have him with them and Mary’s offering was about sacrificing and serving Him. We can show love to our God extravagantly by our sacrificial offerings. And when others around us start to take notice of where our time, money, and love are going, Jesus is ultimately glorified. Isn’t that our purpose as Christ followers and women of God? To glorify the name of Jesus?
The fact that our God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords should stir our hearts and souls to pour out everything we have to Him and for Him. Today’s readings exemplify how important it is to have our hearts in the right place when we make our offerings to God. We often think, “What can I give to someone Who has everything”? But just like Solomon and Mary showed us – we can give Him our hearts. And once we give Him our hearts, the rest follows suit. Our time, our money, and the outpouring of our love will be offerings unto Him.