“Well Pleasing Sacrifices”
Students of the Bible are very familiar with the concept of sacrifice as outlined in scripture. An appreciation of the idea is central to an understanding of the theme of the Bible which includes both God's sacrifice for mankind and His desire for mankind to willingly sacrifice in His service. In the context of a discussion about Old Testament sacrifice with New Testament teachings, the Hebrew writer records the following words of wisdom for God's children of all generations:
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased
First, it's helpful to observe that to be well pleasing to God is not a one-time event, but rather a pattern and a commitment to a lifestyle of service. To "continually offer" is far different than to occasionally offer! One of Satan's greatest "arguments" is to tell people that, with only "limited" service to God, He will be pleased. We can trick ourselves into thinking that's true but that is certainly not the case and never has been the case.
Second, this text tells us that well pleasing sacrifices are not just the "things" we give up or offer, but also the words that we say. Or, more appropriately, to pattern our words and worship in such a way to give glory to God is to sacrifice. This is in many ways a sobering thought. That is, each saint should be very aware of the fact that each time he sings, prays, and worships God, our Father sees such activity as a sacrifice in His service. What a great responsibility and wonderful privilege!
Third, the inspired writer tells us that we should, "Do good." That's incredible! God hasn't asked us to do things that are impossible, or overly complicated, or incredibly challenging, but instead has asked to do good. The problem is that there are times when, frankly, we don't feel like doing good and instead want to merely focus on ourselves. But, when we choose to do good and to serve, we not only make life better for others, but we are enriched with God's favor knowing full well that He sees our action as a well pleasing sacrifice.
Finally, God's inspired writer tells us that we must share if we want God to be pleased with us. Did you catch that? Pleasing God begins with an understanding of one of the most basic, early-education principles. From a young age, our parents and teachers work to help us see the value and need of sharing. Yet, sharing is not a concept for young people, but for all people. We must recall that God is addressing adult believers in Hebrews 13 who, apparently, needed to be reminded about the need to share. The message for us is, then, clear. Sometimes, we get selfish and forget about the value of sharing. God's reminder to us is that, if we want to be active and well pleasing in His service, such a selfless attitude is a key component of well pleasing sacrifices.