Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Exodus 25:2 -- On Sincerity and Offerings

"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering."
Exodus 25:2

This is a good reminder that our offerings to God have to be sincere.  Our employers or financial institutions or governments might accept grudging offerings of effort, fees, or taxes, but with God we have a different relationship.  With him, it's like we went up to Great Aunt Martha and said, "well, I didn't really want to get you anything because you're grouchy and loud, but my mom made me buy you something, so here."  ... And then we wonder why she doesn't appreciate it.  With God we don't even need to be overtly rude, because he knows how we feel and what we think.  Attitude counts, and part of becoming more like God and perfecting ourselves is curing our attitude problems.  That doesn't mean we all have to become little clones or Stepford Wives.  We still get to enjoy individual personality and humor and all that makes us unique.  We just have to sort out the good from the bad.  This doesn't make it okay to not give God anything because we don't want to.  What it means is that part of coming to God is changing our hearts and *wanting* to.
How do we start wanting to do things that we don't want to do?  Seems like so many things are just part of who we are.  We justify a lot of things that way, by saying, well, that's just the kind of person I am.  I tell it like it is, or I'm naturally rebellious, or you have to earn my respect, or whatever it is.  The truth is though, even if we have developed tendencies or emotional attachments to certain kinds of behavior, we still get to choose who we are... actions, feelings, all of it.  If we really want to change, it's probably going to be hard because we've developed our attitudes over time.  But God can help us change our hearts and our minds, and we can cement those changes by altering our actions.
Of course, going to God for help when we already have a bad attitude about him could be tough.  But he is willing to help if we are sincere about wanting to change.  It can seem like circular reasoning, but as it says in Alma 32, "even if ye can no more than desire to believe," God can take even that "particle of faith" and work with it.  We can be who we want to be, inside and out.  We don't have to hide behind attitudes or build false walls to protect our weaknesses.  Today, let's work on our sincerity and on offering what we are willing to give.  And then, let's work on improving in both areas... trusting God to help us hide ourselves less and offer more of ourselves honestly, to God and others.

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