Hospitality is a prized virtue in some cultures. There are people groups to whom you might travel who are starving in poverty, yet when you cross the threshold of their door, they will have prepared for you the very best and finest food they possess. To turn them down would cause them pain, no matter how much you might not like what’s put before you.
The Old Testament mentions many different kinds of offerings and sacrifices that people could offer to God, all of which were symbolic in some way of Christ and what he accomplished on the cross. This included the drink offering, an offering in which the ancient Jewish people would pour out on an altar precious wine, carefully harvested, squeezed, and stored long enough to ferment. It represented their labor and their energy, but the fruitfulness and flavor had been provided by God.
The drink offering was a way of showing God that he was special. He was worthy. He was an honored guest in moments of worship and prayer.
The Apostle Paul, at the end of his life, borrowed from the symbol of the drink offering to say something pretty profound about life.
For I am ready to be poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is near.
~ 2 Timothy 4:6 NIV
Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from his final imprisonment in Rome. He knew that the Emperor, Nero, wasn’t going to let him walk away. Paul was going to die. And history tells us that he did indeed lose his head before Nero because of his unflinching witness to the gospel of the resurrected King Jesus.
So Paul spoke of his impending death as a drink offering. He essentially said, I’m offering my very life to God, no matter the cost.
You can give God money by giving through your church, or to your neighbors, or to people in need. You can give God time by serving the people whom he loves. You can give God your attention and your devotion in prayer and praise.
But the greatest offering you’ll ever give can’t be quantified with a clock or a calculator. The greatest offering you can give to God is your very life.The greatest offering you'll ever give can't be quantified with a clock or a calculator. Your greatest offering is your very life. Click To Tweet
Does that mean dying a martyr’s death, like Paul? For most people reading this, probably not. But there are places in the world in which, to become a Christian and give your life to God really does mean to jeopardize every relationship you have, the job you work, your freedom, and perhaps your very life.
To offer your life before God as a drink offering essentially means saying to him…
Whatever you want to do with me…
Wherever you want me to go…
However you wish for me to serve you…
To whomever you send me with the good news…
No matter the cost, the pain, the suffering it may bring…
I will live my life entirely for your purposes, God.
We focus so much on what a generous God gives to us, but life really begins when it’s laid before God as a total sacrifice.
Have you offered your life entirely to God in prayer? Has your walk demonstrated that level of sacrifice?