“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”
Tenth in a Series–
The Offertory and the Offerings
“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
These are the words generally spoken by the worship leader immediately following the “Amen” at the end of the sermon. The words are a prayer that the words of the gospel spoken in the sermon may give to the hearers that blessed peace in heart and mind that only God can give; this is a peace which is beyond anything that one will ever find in this world of sin–a peace which can only be found by faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
The worshipers respond with a prayer of their own, which is called the Offertory. This prayer is the beginning of that part of the service in which the worshipers respond to the gracious goodness of God as presented in the sermon by offering of themselves and their possessions to the Lord.
This prayer is taken from Psalm 51:1-12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Amen.”
This prayer is first of all a plea for spiritual renewal. After David prayed, “blot out all my iniquities,” he now begs for spiritual renewal. This is the nature of a true spiritual life. Not only are we truly sorry for our many sins and repent of them, but we pray that the Lord by the power of His Spirit will cast every evil and godless thought, word, and deed out of our lives, replacing them with a spirit of godly obedience, as well as with love toward God and our fellowman.
Secondly, this prayer addresses our need for continual spiritual preservation. We know that we need the strength which God alone can provide through His means of grace every second of every day. Therefore, our prayer is that the Lord will never remove His Holy Spirit from us, but rather that He will “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit.”
David knew from experience the tragedy of willful impenitence and the spiritual suffering which accompanied it. But he also experienced the joy of God’s salvation when he heard those words of God through the prophet Nathan, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Sam. 12:13).
So it was David’s prayer and it is ours that the Lord God will “uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” Indeed, may He ever dwell in us and sustain us in our life of faith and love, that His name may ever be glorified in us!
The offerings of thankful hearts are gathered. This is that special time when the worshipers are given the opportunity to offer to their Lord a portion of their possessions as God has blessed them.
Our Lord clearly urges us through the words of 2 Corinthians 9:7-8: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.”
The Lord’s work is carried on by His people in simple thankfulness to their Savior-God for the blessings–both spiritual and material–which they have received from His gracious hands. Heartfelt thankfulness will follow when His blessings are experienced.
We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate'er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.
May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our firstfruits give! (TLH 441:1-2)
–Pastor L. D. Redlin