“Whoever swears by the altar it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?” - Matthew 23:18-19
Jesus points out in today’s scripture the importance of right thinking and how a misplaced belief can rob us of the real blessing.
In Jesus day many people placed great importance upon swearing or making a vow based upon the gift placed on the altar in the temple. The idea was that the gift was more important than where the gift was placed, which was the altar of the temple.
But Jesus declares that the altar is greater than the gift because the altar sanctifies or sets the gift apart to God. Sacrifices placed upon the altar and presented to God were important in the life and experience of the people of Israel.
But Jesus, who in reality takes the place of the temple, was teaching people that one should not place more importance on the gift than to the Person we are giving it to. Your gift must be given freely and from the heart
It is possible for some people to shower the pastor and the church with gifts, but without making a full surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. The gifts are a cover up for a lack of full commitment.
Remember that when you bring your tithe or a financial gift and present it, you are placing it on Jesus and He sets that gift apart as sanctified and fit for His use. When you make a promise it is based on Him, therefore, more important than a promise placed upon the gift.
Dear heavenly Father thank You today for the wonderful opportunities that I have of bringing my gifts to You and that through the Lord Jesus Christ they are sanctified and acceptable.