It’s Friday afternoon (in early January 2010). I just got done showering off some layers of paint. What I thought would be a straight roller job turned out to take several days, but it was specifically to God’s glory!
You see, in November, the Lord very definitely answered my prayer and allowed us to bring in some needed funding for ESEPA. When the news arrived, I thanked him for it, but also decided to look around for a more formal way to offer thanks.
The sacrifice of praise, certainly a must. Thanksgiving in prayer. Giving testimony to others. Yes and yes. But what else?
Isn’t it sad that while under the Old Covenant, people would take animals or even hundreds of animals to give special thanks for God’s provision; but under the New Covenant we seem to stumble over thanksgiving? Is it because we expect that since God is gracious to us all the time, therefore a simple “thank-you note” of prayer seems sufficient? Do we somehow imagine that thanking God in a profound way will make us seem legalistic (I “owe” so much thanks for so much services rendered)? Or make us look as if we’re manipulating God for more goodies?
It seems to me to be faint praise, when we’re invited to “offer a sacrifice of applause” in church, a positive thing, but one which costs us precisely nothing. King David, after all, once refused to give a thank offering that he hadn’t paid for:
And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver (2 Sam 24:24)
I prayed and then decided that I would paint the first floor meeting hall at ESEPA, capacity about 150. I noticed during a meeting on Monday that it needed sprucing up and that a coat of paint would give it a face-lift. My course work was all caught up; I had plenty of other things I could have been doing, but nothing really pressing.
It ended up taking about 20 hours to do, much longer than I’d expected. I’d forgotten to apply the rule of, multiply by a factor of three, what you think it will take in time and money! There were two colors for the four walls. The first shade went on fine. The second color, the security guard and I figured out last night, did not: the hardware store had given me two slightly different shades of blue. I had to repaint quite a few square feet. I did not complain, but gave praise to the Lord in and through the redo.
Then there was the cleanup, since I couldn’t justify making the housekeeper clean up after my sacrifice. As part of my offering, I carefully submitted to the advice and instruction of the maintenance guys.
My friends, since we are people of a New Covenant, we have the freedom to let our imagination soar. Let us give thanks by painting; or by making an extra effort to witness to some individual; or by kneeling down next to a beggar and giving him a sandwich.
Father, these 20 hours of painting are my offering of thanks to you for that special blessing last November. Muchas gracias, Señor, for your kindness to me and to ESEPA. Those newly-painted walls are for you.
“Bring Him the Sacrifice of…Paint??” by Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament, Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica