top of page
  • Writer's pictureTodd Render

what can I possibly give You?

photo by Ullash Bora on unsplash

A friend texted this question: “When we worship God the Father or Christ we pray all the honor, glory, power, majesty, etc. be unto You. But in His being He already has all of those attributes in their entirety. Why do we pray these things like we are worthy to give them?”

I like this question. I remember getting stuck at:

  • And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (Rev 5:11-12 NAS)

How can biblical writers say that we give God glory or honor or strength or power or wisdom? And what about riches, etc.? Does God receive power from us humans?

In one sense, how can mortals give anything to God other than sacrifice or praise?

Break it up into 3 categories of what we as His people give to God:

1) Giving God material, physical offerings:

This is straightforward to understand. These include tithes, sacrifices, contributions etc. These can only be - by definition - a fraction of what He first gave to us. Think of Abraham tithing a tenth of the spoils of war to the priest of God Most High (Gen 14:20). That’s a direct gift, and part of the Levitical system of sacrifices was to provide for all the people engaged in the dedicated work of ministry, Levites and priests and their families, who had no inheritance of land for their own:

  • “Then the LORD said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. "And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.” (Num 18:20-21 NAS)

Giving to support the people doing God’s work is an important part of honoring and worshiping God. This gets carried on in the New Testament church: “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” (1Co 9:14 NAS) This extends to others who have ministry responsibility in the church:

  • “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." (1Ti 5:17-18 NAS)

Like giving to support the church workers, we are also called to give to others in need. This has always been true throughout Old and New Testament times, e.g.

  • "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. "So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Deu 10:18-19 NAS)

But there’s more to it than simple charity. As we are fond of saying, our horizontal relationships (how we love other people) reflect our vertical relationships (our love for God). “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.” (Pro 19:17 NAS) Taking care of people is, in a very real way, part of our relationship with God.

Jesus tied this to our eternal destiny:

"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Mat 25:40 NAS)

But also,

  • "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Mat 25:45-46 NAS)

Giving needed resources is life-and-death critical – for us! - in the eyes of Him who sees and judges all and is a part of our relationship with a