And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.-Hebrews 13:16
In this verse the writer of Hebrews is reminding us of three things. The first thing he reminds us about is to do good. What does he mean when he says do good? Does he mean do what we think is good or does he mean do what God thinks is good? Of course it is a reminder to do what God thinks is good. But what does God think is good? For the answer to that question we need to look at a passage written by the prophet Micah. This is what God tells Micah to tell the people of Israel and to us about what God thinks is good, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).
The second thing we remind about in this passage is to share with others. We don’t like to share and in fact it is in our human nature to want cling tightly to what we think is ours. However, everything we have is not truly ours, but is God’s and he is letting us steward it for a little while. This is a reminder to live open handed and not closed handed. We see a perfect example of what this looks like in the book of Acts. Immediately after the day of Pentecost and the events that happened on that day we are given a description of how the early church operated. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
The last thing we reminded about is that God is not interested in meaningless sacrifices. God wants your obedience not your sacrifices. Your obedience to God will lead you to make offerings to God, but you should never use making an offering to God as an excuse for disobedience. If you want to see what this will lead read 1 Samuel 15. This is the story of why God ultimately rejected Saul as king of Israel. To sum up a very long story God rejected Saul as king, because he disobeyed God. Here is what God through Samuel told Saul, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offering and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 NIV).
God wants you to do what is good and right in his eyes, and the eyes of the world. God wants you live open handed remembering that everything you have is a gift from God. And lastly God wants your obedience, not your blindly made sacrifices in a attempt to cover up something that you have done wrong.