Knowing The Difference Between Gifts and Offerings
A gift is something that the giver chooses. We choose what it is and who will receive it. The more we know someone the better gift we can give them. How do we know them? We know them by their lifestyle and our fellowship with them.
God did not give us the gift that we wanted, He gave us the gift that we needed. He did not ask us, What do you need? He already knew because of His love for us.
Ephesians 4: 8, Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Man must claim ownership of these gifts before he can offer them to another.
When God gives a gift it is always a seed that must be planted and matured into the manifestation of the gift inside that seed. He planted a seed in Mary that matured into the perfect gift to man that has meet our every need. He planted a garden in Eden that was suppose to spread into all the earth .. He told Abraham, In your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed. Jesus said of Himself, except a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit. (John 12:24).
An offering is different from a gift. An offering is something that once the receiver has claimed ownership chooses to offer back to the giver of the gift. Jesus as a man, in behalf of man offered himself back to God who gave him. Jesus said of himself, My life is mine, I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. He was claiming ownership so he could offer his life back to His Father in the behalf of others.
The gifts that God gives us, once we have claimed ownership of them, should be offered back to Him in service to others after they have matured. James 5: 7, Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
You can see this maturing process in the lives of individuals and churches. At first, things break forth and grow quickly because of the first rain of the Holy Spirit on the gifts that are in us. After the first rain, the time consuming growing period begins where it looks like not much is happening. Then the Holy Spirit brings the latter rain and the gifts mature to perfection.
Suddenly, a individual's ministry or a church breaks forth on all sides in growth. What happened? They received the latter rain, and the gifts were perfected to harvest. This is why James says (1:17), to be patient and wait for the latter rain, because every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.
If the gifts that God has given are used before they mature, confusion in others is the result because there is no fruit present. People that get ahead of God eventually get frustrated and quit or fall into sin not understanding the process of God's seedtime and harvest. God is patient. He waits for the gifts that He has given unto men to mature unto perfection before He can use them.
In order for a seed to grow it must have fertile ground, water and light. The word of God is the seed. If the ground is not fertile, we must fertilize it. The word of God is the fertilizer. If the ground is dry we must water it. The word of God is the water. If the ground needs light, then we supply the light. The word of God is the light.