Monday, February 21, 2011

Consecrating the Daily Grind

Back to Leviticus!  (It doesn't have quite the ring of the "Back to Genesis" ads on the radio.)

As I opened my Bible to Leviticus chapter 2 this morning, I prepared myself for the fact that not every day's Bible reading brings eye-popping, heart-stopping insights.  But God surprised me once again.

This chapter gave instruction for the presentation of grain offerings.  Living with a farmer, grain is a daily part of our lives.  We have bins of grain from last fall's harvest that are waiting to be delivered to market.  We have grain in the barn we are feeding our expectant ewes and growing calf.  Our son has a jar of wheatberries (grains of wheat) on his headboard to snack on when he's in the mood.  I didn't expect to see anything exciting in this chapter on grain.

But as I read, this is what I discovered:
There were three constant ingredients offered with the grain. The first was oil (v. 1,2,4,5,6,7,15,16). The second was salt (v. 13). The third, less noticeable (it is mentioned only once, but in reference to all grain sacrifices) was frankincense (v. 1). Grain was the gift, but it was to be anointed with oil and frankincense and seasoned with salt.

Putting my symbolic-and-contextual-interpretation hat on, it was easy to explain the oil. Throughout the Bible, oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit—in the anointing of kings, in the temple. The working and presence of the Holy Spirit should be evident in my giving. The salt? My only thought here is the verse that instructs us to season our words with grace (Col. 4:6). So salt represents grace (?). And frankincense, brought by one of the magi, represents Christ (?).  (I did cheat here by looking up a commentary and confirming these last two.)

Why all the detail?  Does it really matter? This is where the eye-popping, heart-stopping reached out and grabbed me. Even the most mundane, every day, common sacrifice (or gift) is to be offered reverently, with grace, by the working of the Spirit, lavished by Jesus Christ’s redeeming blood. My daily life should not consist of moments never given, or given carelessly, or given grudgingly, or apart from the work of Christ. The moments, the grains of my day, are to fall from my fingers as those spoken with grace, lubricated by the Spirit, releasing the aroma of Christ. Perhaps the things I do would be different if I saw them in this light. More likely, the ways in which I do them and the freedom of heart I experience as the finely-ground grain is presented would rise in praise to the God who provided the seeds of grain and the components of the sacrifice.

The grains of life are spent apart from my giving.  If only I would consecreate and give them with a heart of gratitude, open hands, and dependence....Jesus, take and bless. In your name and for your glory….

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