But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24)
Relate: It was Christmas time. We were all in the living room opening up our gifts. There was one I had just finished earlier that day and wrapped up as an extra gift for dad. He tried to look surprised and pleased as he opened it up. It was one of those “Thank you so much… um, what is it?” moments. You see, I had made my dad an origami spaceship. It never occurred to me that A) I’m really into spaceships, dad isn’t. B) He isn’t really that much into origami either, and C) At 5 years old, my origami skills leave much to be desired. All I knew was that I had made an origami spaceship and was quite pleased with myself for doing so. So, naturally I wanted to give it to my father. To him it was nothing, to me it was my best.
Salvation is free. Worship costs everything. There is absolutely nothing I can do, nothing I can bring to earn the favor of God. My very best accomplishments, my greatest gifts are, to God, as useless as origami spaceships. He has no need of them. He has no use for them. But what He can use is a heart that loves Him. He can do great things with a heart that has surrendered everything. God doesn’t need my offerings. What He desires is me… offering.
React: David was a screwup. He had done the wrong thing and followed it up with the wrong choice. Now others were paying the consequence of his failure on top of failure. The grace of God opened his eyes to this fact and he rushed to the threshing floor as quickly as possible. Once there, the owner gladly offers to give David the space and materials to do what needs to be done. He responds, “I cannot give to God a sacrifice that costs me nothing.” What he does offer stops the plague. What he does give saves the people.
God didn’t need those oxen sacrificed. He didn’t need the money David spent to do it. But had David not paid, the plague probably would have continued. What God was looking at was the heart and attitude behind the gift. At best my origami spaceship was docked for a few days on dad’s desk before making a crash landing in the trash can. More likely it didn’t even survive the Christmas cleanup process. But the fact that I gave him my nothings that meant so much. That moved the heart of my father.
God, I have nothing to offer to You. The very best that I have: my money, my accomplishments, my time, are as necessary to You as origami spaceships. I give it all to You anyways. When I bring to You a sacrifice of praise let it truly be praise. And let it truly be a sacrifice. You are the only thing of true worth that I value. You are everything.