What does offering mean to you, Dear Reader? Is it limited to a monetary gift we put in the plate? Or can it be something more?
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Psalm 96:8 RSV
When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.
15-17 Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!”
John 2: 14-16 MSG
43 Jesus called his followers to him and said, “This poor widow put in only two small coins. But the truth is, she gave more than all those rich people. 44 They have plenty, and they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had. It was money she needed to live on.”
Mark 12: 41-44 ERV
Perhaps what brought pleasure to the Lord, and the woman, was her offering of devotion and obedience. The widow's humble offering was her way of "ascrib(ing) to the Lord the glory due his name".
My pragmatic brain finally figured out that God doesn't need our checks and debit cards. He's prepared for us a place where, "The street of the city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass." (Revelation 12:21) God doesn't need us to float Him a loan.
For me, the purpose of our offerings isn't to fill God's coffers, but to enrich our relationships with Him. Our greatest offerings are those given with humility, obedience, and devotion to our Heavenly Father.