"Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God."
In the Old Testament period believers were expected to make a variety of sacrifice offerings depending on the occasion. This was done to show one's allegiance to God and to demonstrate with one's financial resources that God was a higher priority than one's own comfort. Today, Christians don't make animal sacrifices, but we still give financially to our churches and to charitable organizations. Giving to an organization that helps others is a good habit to form. It is a modern form of sacrifice.
However, I want to encourage readers to follow the advice given in Hebrews 13:16. Here we read that Christians should do good and help those in need. My take away from this passage is that we don't need an intermediary when we give. We should give to our church, yes. But we should also be looking for ways we can give directly to those in need. Who are the people you are in contact with that could benefit from some form of financial help? Provide some assistance to them. Do this anonymously if you feel this would be best, but be generous.
The other part of this passage reminds us that it's not all about money. We can also do good. This could be in the form of acts of service or words of encouragement. There is always the ability to show love to others. We never run out of this resource.
We can do good as opportunities arise. (For example, if we see a shopping cart between two parked cars on a windy day, we could return it to a cart return receptacle.) We can also engage in doing good on a regular basis. The easiest way to do this is by committing to an ongoing volunteer activity. One great resource to search for volunteer organizations in your community is the website: www.volunteermatch.org.
Sometimes Christians believe that they need to do something radical in order to serve God. We think we need to make some kind of significant sacrifice in order to demonstrate our faith. Many times we view this sacrifice through a financial lens. For example, we may consider increasing our tithe to our church. While this is not bad, the Bible tells us that God is pleased with our sacrifices that involve personal acts of doing good and helping those in need.
(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)