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I am sure as Catholics you have heard the phrase “Offer it up” as in offer up all your pain and suffering to Jesus. I know I have heard it and to me it often sounds like “Suck it up” a phrase we often times tell our kids when they get hut playing a sport or are unhappy about some work they have to do. It’s a phrase we use to tell them, some times life is hard, sometimes life ain’t fair, but get use to it.
So are “Offer it up” and “Suck it up” said in the same vein? Do they really mean the something. Can a fellow Christian be telling me to get use to it, life ain’t fair? Or is there a deeper meaning to “Offer it up”?
Offer it up…
Fist off, where does that phrase come from, why would we tell fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to “Offer it up” and what exactly are we offering?
The phrase is linked to a few things. If we start in the Old Testament we will see that God commanded that His people “Offer up sacrifices”. when I did a searched the bible for the word offering it returned 728 hits, starting with:
2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, (Genesis 4:2-4 (New International Version)
And ends with:
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:4-6 (New International Version)
With 726 passages between them, so the idea of “offering it up” is not a new idea. But here is the next logical question… Why? Why did they offer up fruit and animals to God, did He need them? was God lazy and did not want to cook for Himself, could not God just create what He wanted?
First point: God does not and never did need anything from us.
Second point: God has no need of our offerings
Third point: God has us make offerings not because He needs them (points one and two) but because He wanted to make a visible sign for us, an act we can perform to show our love.
Gods love is not depended upon the offering, He will love us regardless. So why have us make the offering to start with? It is an action, the verb of our noun, love. Turning our none, love, in to a verb, loving. Once again God does not need our love nor does He need the action of it. God created the actions not for Him, but for us. Sacrificing and offering is a human condition, not a Godly condition.
Did God need Abraham to offer up his son? Was the test necessary of him?
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22: 1-18 Abraham Tested (New International Version)
The simple answer, no, God did not need to see the results of the test, God knew Abrahams devotion and love to Him. So why make Abraham “Offer it up”? All that God does with and through us, human beings, He does for us. Nothing God does is self-serving or self-gratifying. Everything God does it out of love for His creation. Could God do anything else? Could God be self-serving? No, God is pure light, pure love, pure spirit, God has no need for self-glorification, He is God. Self-serving, Self-glorification and Self-gratifying are all works of the evil one, the devil, they are sins and God is incapable of sinning.
So why make Abraham do this, why make His own people give offerings to Himself if he has no need of it. In today’s politically correct world with its pseudo social justice, the idea of sacrificing and offering up to God food items would be cause for unrest and rebellion, the “enlightened” would find cause for arrest and persecution of those that made the offering. So why? We keep coming back to that simple question, Why make us do it? And what good does it do if God truly does not need it? Why “waste” the time and energy to “Offer it up”?
It’s the lessons learned by humanity, it’s the discipline gained by Gods creation and its the devotion of love. It is the noun becoming the verb, love becoming loving. The description, I love, becoming the action, I am loving. Words are easy to speak, all to often we say “I love you” but how often do the works truly have meaning behind them? The action of love, with or without the words, speaks louder than anything else.
God proved this by offering up His only begotten son, Jesus. No words ever spoken by humanity could ever speak the depth of this unspoken action. The words of Jesus as he walked this earth would be hollow and empty with out the action to back them up. Jesus said :
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 (New International Version)
But with out the action of His crucifixion the words would have fallen like so many others words spoken with good intentions. But Jesus did not let the words become meaningless, He backed them up with action, He offered it up freely, and offered His life for our salvation.
So is it truly that hard to understand the concept of “Offering it up”? Is it difficult to see the difference between “Offer it up” and “suck it up”, one is done for the glory of God the other is done for self-preservation. Both have a time and place, but I would offer this, all that we do should be done for the glory of God, so all that we do should be offered up in His name.
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