Skip to content

Offer and Acceptance

October 18, 2016

Our youngest son, Peter, started law school recently. One of his courses is the law of contracts, which includes the study of what constitutes an offer and acceptance. I thought of this week’s Scriptures as I thumbed through one of his supplemental materials. The Scripture texts this week relate to the concept of what constitutes an offering acceptable to God. [1]

The firstborn sons of Adam and Eve pursued different occupations. Cain was a farmer, and Abel, a shepherd. The Old Testament reading is an account of the offerings they each brought to the Lord. Cain brought something he had grown on the land; Abel brought the firstborn of his flock. We don’t know why, but God did not accept Cain’s offering. Some scholars have suggested that Cain may have had an improper attitude, or the offering was deficient in some way. God encouraged him to try again (Genesis 4: 7), but Cain reacted angrily, and killed his brother. In the law of contracts, if an offer is not accepted, there is no deal, and the parties are free to try again. But Cain’s refusal to admit his mistake, to take a do-over, was his bane. It would plague him the rest of his life.   God is the Do-Over God. He is a God of second chances. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but when we offer our talents, our time, and other resources for his glory, he asks us to do our best, and to bring our offerings to him with an attitude of humility.

Humility was a problem for the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable. His prayer was not acceptable to God because even though he addressed God, he wasn’t praying to God—he was praying to himself and to the others around him: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” (Luke 18: 11,12). He wanted to boast of his piety and he wanted others to hear about how good he was. The tax collector, on the other hand, offered a simple and humble prayer to God: “God, have mercy on me a sinner” (v. 13). Jesus tells us that the Pharisee’s prayer will not be accepted by God. He didn’t close the deal; he didn’t connect to God. On the other hand, the humble tax collector sealed the deal, and was “sent home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (v. 14). He connected to God; his humility pleased God.

We see in the epistle lesson that Paul viewed his life as an offering to God as he was sitting on death row: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.” (2 Timothy 4:6). “A drink offering consisted of wine poured out on an altar as a sacrifice to God (Genesis 35:14; Exodus 29:41). Its fragrance was considered pleasing to God. “ (Life Application Bible note, p. 2204). Paul faced his death calmly, knowing that he was dying in faith, and would see his Lord Jesus again.

A contract is a promise.  God always keeps his promises to us.  Will you make an offer?  Instead of comparing yourself to other sinners, offer your best in prayer and in life to God. If you do that with a humble heart, it will be accepted. You will seal the deal and connect for eternity with your Savior. And don’t worry if you mess up. Be humble, admit your mistakes, and take a do-over.

[1] The Scripture texts for the Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost are Psalm 5; Genesis 4:1-15; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18: 9-17

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: