True worship: Devoted lives

The grain offering (Leviticus 2) was a tribute gift of farm produce (flour and olive oil), whereby the worshipper acknowledged God’s sovereignty over his life and asked for His continuing favour. And since every Israelite in those days was a farmer, everyone would have the resources to make this type of offering, which represented the product of human labour (in cultivating, harvesting, processing and cooking the grain). Their daily work was thus dedicated to God. Only a small portion of the offering was burned on the altar; most of it would be eaten by the priests.

The correct ingredients were of vital importance. Yeast and honey were unacceptable (verse 11) – not because they were unclean, but presumably because they would ‘contaminate’ the gift of man with the produce of nature (the result of ‘work’ by microbe or bee). We are also warned against the corruption of ‘yeast’ – not the yeast in our food, but the teachings of ‘natural’ religion (Matthew 16:6).

On the other hand, salt was essential (verse 13). It was the preservative of the ancient world, and was also used in the sealing of a treaty (it symbolised the binding of the two parties together). And there is a ‘salt’ that binds us to God and makes us fit for His use: suffering. “Everyone will be salted with fire.” (Mark 9:49)

What can we learn from all this? That there should be no artificial division between the secular and the sacred; every part of our daily lives, including our work, is part of our worship. And that what we earn is not for our benefit alone; we are to use some of it to support those who are working directly for the Lord, either in ministry or in mission.

So, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23). We don’t have to ‘dress it up’ to make it seem more worthy – God wants us as we are, and with what we have. Let us offer our ‘daily grind’ to Him, including both our achievements and our difficulties, and allow Him to consecrate and empower our whole lives with His Spirit.

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