In the book of Genesis, we find the story of Adam and Eve and their two sons, Cain and Abel. The Scriptures say that “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock” (Genesis 4:3–4). The word “offering” means a present, a gift unto the Lord. The natural, first response of our first family, when blessed with a wonderful harvest or a growing flock, was to bring a present unto the Lord.
Now, that story is repeated all through the Bible. A natural response to God is to offer Him a gift. Mary of Bethany did that with our Savior when she broke the alabaster box and anointed His head and His feet and the perfume filled the room (Mark 14:3; John 12:3).
Joseph of Arimathea did the same thing. He took the tomb that was new, hewn for himself and his family and gave it to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 27:57–60). He had no idea of the resurrection from the dead when he gave the tomb to our Lord. It was a gift from Joseph forever.
Nicodemus took one hundred pounds of spice in order that it might be enfolded in the winding sheet to help preserve Jesus’ precious body from what he thought was inevitable decay and corruption. It was a gift, a lavish one, and an expensive one, from the hand of Nicodemus (John 19:39–40).
It is a normal response on our part, when we come into the presence of our God, to present to Him a gift. I would love to lay a gift at His blessed feet. Where is He? There is a sure and certain answer to that question in the word of God, for the Lord is always identified with His people. “As ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:34–40). The heart of our Savior is still among the poor and the humble of the earth. God bless you as you minister to the needy in the name of Jesus.
It’s a wonderful thing and a blessed thing to offer unto God an offering of what you possess—what you have. But it is a far more glorious thing to make an offering, a dedication, a gift, a present of yourself: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
—Dr. W. A. Criswell, condensed