“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1, The Message).
I still remember the offering time in my little, country Baptist church I grew up in. The bulletin for the day always clearly stated “The Offering.” Music played. Deacons walked down the aisle passing gold-colored, super-light plates with red felt lining the bottom.
The plate would pass and I’d peek in to see a few bills and some folded checks. Somehow just placing my hands on the plate and then passing it along made me part of “The Offering.” Probably 3.5 minutes in total and then it was done. On to the last hymn before the special music before the sermon.
But what if we didn’t just move on to the next thing after the offering? In fact, what if the offering was the thing?
In his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks to those living within the power center of the empire. Familiar with jockeying for position, seeking fame, and constantly curating image, Jesus followers of the day knew what 'self-at-the-center' lives looked like – a constant grasping for power and place, a striving to fit the cultural motifs of the day (or even hour).
But Paul calls them to a better way – a Kingdom way – in which God takes center stage and empire fades into a Kingdom in which the citizens live their most authentic and vibrant selves together as a daily offering. A healthy and whole society marked by cultural flourishing in all its places and spaces.
In this Kingdom, the offering is not about light, gold-colored plates passing between hands. The offering is about our very lives, the most ordinary bits.
As Paul describes, “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
We need not seek to become something we are not, constantly casting about for cultural inclusion even among the pious. What we desperately need – and what the world needs from us – is a community living within the firm conviction that lives lived fully to the glory of God in all their bits and pieces, in the nooks and crannies, in our work-a-day worlds and half-cleaned homes, cultivate a Kingdom whose citizens together make visible the very King under whose good reign we find ourselves.
What would it look like for you to live your everyday life as an offering or God?
Written by Matt Benson
University Professor and Global Content Contributor.
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