What do you give the person who has everything?
"I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine... Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." - Psalm 50:9-12, 14-15 ESV
God is gracious and He doesn't need anything from us. The literal translation of 'a sacrifice of thanksgiving' is 'make thanksgiving your sacrifice'. That changes things doesn't it?
I'm meditating on this idea and it is very convicting. God has great ability. Am I tying His hands?
If we owned 100 million dollars we would have some amazing abilities wouldn't we. Think of the equipment at our disposal and the real estate we could purchase. If we were smart we wouldn't ever have to use the money. Just having it would give us leverage.
This Psalm isn't directed at the needy person. Needy people claim these promises all the time but it isn't directed at that crowd. It is directed at those who think they have something to give.
Can't God sell some of that cattle and provide for the needy people? If He did then what kind of power would He have? His ability is rooted in His ownership.
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." - Matthew 25:1-13 ESV
The virgins had oil so they had illumination and access. No one can give me their oil and I can't give anyone my oil. I don't see God selling any cattle.
Grace is God's willingness to give favor. I see a God who is willing to deliver and wants us to have wisdom so that we can access what we already possess if we know Him. A child of God is an the heir of a King who will never die.
I often see a need for my thinking to shift. Does God need what ever it is I have to give? No. People might but God doesn't. The sacrifice is praise. If I use my brain and cry out to Him it the time of trouble He is glorified. He never sells anything and I never sacrifice anything. It is finished.
Progress is made when our lamp is full of oil. We can help in other ways because we love people. We can give time and resources. There is no out giving God. Best of all we can point people to the richest One of All who will give a person their own oil.