Those that know me well can attest that I spend a lot of time considering the Lord and His great love (Psalm 107:43). I believe it to be an unavoidable result of loving God. As with any relationship, one with God is give and take.
If you’re a believer… He gives you a feeling of acceptance and belonging (“what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” – 1 John 3:1). He gives you inseparable love (Romans 8:38-39), protecting peace (“and the peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds” – Philippians 4:7), unspeakable joy – full of glory (1 Peter 1:8), and power to overcome all the works of the enemy (Luke 10:19) – among many other things. He will be with you forever – even when you feel alone (John 14:16). He will hear you always, and give you a license to boldly approach the throne (Hebrews 4:16). The only thing He asks for in return is faith and obedience. Not obedience in a master and slave kind of way, where your labor benefits the master alone, and not yourself. But obedience in a way that says to God, “I know you know what I need and I know you have a plan to prosper your kingdom and me… so I will take your lead.”
Like any relationship, there comes a time when you will desire to express your love and appreciation to God in a way which He does not require. Who can sustain a relationship doing the minimum necessary, after all? And who in the world deserves such an attempt to do more than minimum if not God – the Giver of all good things?
Pondering all these things, I asked myself, “What can a man give God?”
Money? Surely, God commanded us to tithe and give offerings, even saying those who do not are robbing God (Malachi 3:8-12)! It is not because He needs our money – He owns all things (Psalm 50:12) – and it is not money of which we rob Him, but rather His ability to bless us! (He Himself has chosen a seed to serve Him.) But that’s for another time.
Speaking of time, what about that? Time. Maybe your time, but the Scriptures declare that God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:14). I’m sure He enjoys hanging out with us. After all, isn’t that why Jesus came to save us – so that God could continue fellowship with us, and us with Him? But honestly, a God that inhabits eternity seems to have all the time in the world.
What about space, such as a building? Solomon had this thought when he built his famous temple, but even still relented that even heaven cannot contain God (1 Kings, 8:27). God Himself declares He fills heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24).
Doesn’t He already possess all good things? Surely He does, otherwise it would be impossible for Him to give them. Surely all things must belong to God – Creator of all things (Psalm 50:12).
Since God already is everything He could ever need (entirely self-sufficient, that is, He is the most satisfied being and completely exists without need), I wondered, is there anything God’s given me that He refuses to touch for Himself? I mean, He could take anything from me in a moment, except those ways which He has elected to limit Himself. He will not defy His word – it is forever settled (Psalm 119:89) and He holds it higher than His own name (Psalm 138:2). And His word declares that He has given us the freedom to choose what we will (Deuteronomy 30:19).
So what can a man give God? After much thought, I came up with 4 things. In order to qualify, I required each of my selections to fit 3 rules:
1) God had to give it to us or give us the ability to do it.
2) God had to say He would not take it for Himself.
3) God had to desire it.
Worship. We know from Jesus that the Father seeks those that worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). We all surely worship something. We give it our time, our attention, our thoughts. We give it our respect and adoration. We pursue it with all our hearts. We value it. Making it a true priority to continually worship God “in spirit and in truth” is something that He desires! And only you can choose to do it – He’ll never rob it from you. Your praise – your worship – is an asset God granted only to you, and it is something He pursues!
Love. It is because of God that we have the capacity to love. God created us in His image and likeness. He is the God of love. In fact, the Scriptures teach us that God is love (1 John 4:16)! Surely our ability to love comes only from the resemblance each of us have to our Maker. Loving God was actually a command (Mark 12:29-30). We were not commanded to love God because God is just selfish (although who in creation deserves to be, if not God?), but because you were actually created to depict God, to love God, and to harmonize with His Spirit (Romans 8:17).
Faith. We define faith as believing, in spite of any evidence you may possess or observe, that God is who He says He is, will do all He says He will do, and that everything He says is absolutely true – without exception or reservation. Faith is the decision to believe God without a reason, regardless of any evidence that opposes what He says. The Scriptures tell us that God gave a measure of faith to everyone (Romans 12:3). But like a muscle, it is up to us to exercise it, use it, apply it, and like a gun (since faith is our greatest weapon in warfare), to choose which direction in which to aim it. The Bible says that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (James 2:23). The Scriptures say that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)! (For more information on the topic of faith, click here.)
Will. Free will is an interesting option, because it seems to encompass all that go before it. God gave man a choice (Deuteronomy 30:19), and most decisions in life we make echo that choice in some way. Some do not – I do not believe a decision between whether to wear black socks, or white, will mean the difference between life and death. But your choice is something that you have that God will not touch. Your will is something you can discipline into matching the will of God, as an act of worship because you love and have faith in God.
Have you told God today that you love Him? Have you explained just how much He means to you, and how dear to your heart He is? Take a moment away from your busy life or any other plans you have to make an appointment with the Lord. Tell Him, “I will set apart this time – maybe 10 minutes, maybe an hour or two – to do nothing but praise You.”
If you share this sentiment with me, you don’t have to do what I do. You can just find something that isn’t required, but something you do as an act of love for God – an act of worship! Maybe you want to take a more physical, rather than emotional, approach. Maybe you could find a local shelter and help feed the poor. God says that is the fast He’s chosen (Isaiah 58:6-9)! Or perhaps you could find a Christian and Godly charity that does good things in the name of the Lord and donate money or useful belongings to them – things that are above your commanded tithes and offerings. Maybe go an extra mile to bless someone else in the name of the Lord (make it known unto them you are doing it because you love the Lord, and the Lord loves them).
The important thing, I suppose, is that you seek the Lord concerning what He would desire from you. If a husband brings home chocolate to his wife, who is fasting or on a diet, that would be different than bringing home exactly the food she is craving at a moment she is hungry, able, and willing to eat it! Maybe God could use something specific from you that I can’t give on your behalf. Seek the scriptures and the heart of God for your own circumstance. Ask the Lord to speak to you through them. I am confident He will.
What Only You can Give
What can a man give God? We can make this wholly personal. In order to do that, allow me to ask a slightly different question.
What should a man not give God?
Ultimately, God desires a loving relationship with you with fulfilling fellowship that satisfies you both. He desires that there be nothing between you – nothing that you would not sacrifice for Him should He require it from you (Exodus 20:2). After all, He did not hold anything back from us. When we required it, He even gave us Himself (John 3:16, 1:1, 1:14).
Ask yourself a question only you can answer. Is there anything in your world, your life, or your mind (among your choices) that you would not give up if God asked for it? I hope that list is not long. If it is, perhaps you can work on emptying it in your heart. God is jealous for you (Exodus 20:5)!! Such is His love for you! I can promise that since He is jealous, the things on the list of things you wouldn’t give up if He asked you to will be the only things He will require from you. That list once held a few things in my life. God was faithful to work with me and in me so that I could get them out of the way. I’m sure He will do the same for you.
I appreciate you reading this article, and exploring with me these things of God which I consider.