I Chronicles 21:23-24 “Ornan said to David, take it; and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. I give you the oxen also for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the meal offering. I give it all. And King David said to Ornan, NO, but I will pay the full price. I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings which cost me nothing.”
We are about to enter the season of sales, shopping and savings that will abound. Everyone loves to get a deal when they go shopping and I believe that it is the favor of God when we save money on that which we are buying. Being an avid thrift store shopper, getting a deal is what I love to do. When certain stores offer discounts on top of clearance items, we are elated; when our favorite shoes are marked down we rejoice and I believe the Lord sets up these savings for us, so we smile, but also so we save money. However, I think when we bring this discount, thrift store, Craigslist shopping attitude into church, we run into a problem.
Christians are notorious for not wanting to pay full price for anything, but yet wanting to get the best quality of whatever it is they are buying. More than one person, on more than one occasion has told me that they will never do business with a Christian, because they are always looking to get something for nothing. This is very unfortunate, because it is fellow Christians who are saying this. But as sad as that is, I think the real challenge we face as Christians is realizing that savings at the store is favor from God, but trying to give a discounted tithe, 1/2 price worship, or thrift store sacrifices is foolishness to God.
When shopping it is okay to save money, but when we are in the house of God we have to be willing to pay full price or we will not get what we say we want in prayer. We have said all the right words, God is my provider, God is good all the time, He will never leave me or forsake me, and all these things are right and true, but what about you? God has never broken a promise, He has never sought to give as little as possible, He has always done more, given more, sacrificed more, than is required. Yet, so many Christians come into church and want worship to only be 20 minutes because they don’t like the style, the drums, the guitar, the whatever. We expect the Pastor to be funny, quick and relevant or we lose interest in what they have to say. Discounts, savings, thrift store church is what we want. Many Christians around the world are looking for a savings in church, but they want all the promises of God. This is an injustice, that will not be tolerated by God.
It is high time that we, who call ourselves believers, stop expecting service to be an hour or less, because we need to get home and watch the game, go out to lunch with, whomever, or go take a nap because it is Sunday afternoon. We need to start asking how much more can I give, how much more can I serve, how much more can I do. Jesus paid the highest price possible for our lives, by dying on a cross to save us from the cost of sin, and we are asking for a discounted tithe? This is baffling to God. He withholds nothing from us, but we are always looking for ways to cut corners, save time, money, and energy when in the house of God. Church, it is time we start paying full price.
God will answer all our prayers, give us the desires of our hearts, pour out His spirit in power, release us into the ministry we want, the job we desire, the relationship we long for, but it starts with paying full price in worship, paying full price in sacrifice, paying full price in our tithes and offerings, paying full price in listening, learning and loving God and others. Until we pay full price, it is foolish to ask God to give us anymore than we have already been given. I don’t know about you, but I love the savings God gives me when I am shopping, and I know He loves it when we pay full price to advance His kingdom on the earth.
It is time to pay full price.