THE DIFFERENCE IN MOTIVE AND FEELING
Now we must see something more concerning the peace offering. In the appreciation of Christ, there is another kind of difference. Not only is there a difference in size, but also a difference in feeling. Some peace offerings are offered as a thanksgiving, and some are offered for a voluntary vow. “And of it he shall present one cake out of each offering for a heave offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the priest’s that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is presented; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he presenteth his sacrifice; and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten” (Lev. 7:14-16, lit.).
Those who offer the peace offering for thanksgiving are very thankful to the Lord. The Lord has been very good to them, and they are grateful and thankful to the Lord. Therefore, they bring to the Lord a peace offering for thanksgiving. But let me ask a question: Do you think that this kind of offering is very strong in feeling? I believe that most of you might say yes, but I say no. This is the weakest feeling. For me to bring a peace offering to the Lord because He has been so good to me is more or less like making a bargain with the Lord. When Jacob was young, he made a bargain with the Lord like this. He told the Lord that if He would provide for his eating, his clothing, his housing, and protection, then he would do certain things for the Lord (Gen. 28:20-22). It is easy to be thankful to the Lord when He is so good to you. But suppose the Lord is not so good to you. How would you feel then? Some may get a better job, some a better home, some a better car, and some a better degree. Everything is better all the time. Then they will be very thankful to the Lord, and they will come to the meeting with a peace offering for thanksgiving. There is a feeling in this peace offering, but it is not a very strong feeling.
Suppose that when you look for a better home, you eventually get one that is worse. And when you look for a better job, you don’t find it, and instead, you lose your present job. What would you do then? Could you still come to the meeting with a peace offering? I don’t think so. You simply will not have the peace. But there is another kind of peace offering. This is a peace offering for a voluntary vow. Those who give this offering do not care whether the Lord gives them a better home or not. In fact, they don’t care whether the Lord gives them anything. They are just here for the Lord’s recovery. This is a vow to them. The heavens and the earth can flee away, but they are still for the Lord’s recovery. Undoubtedly, this kind of feeling is very strong.
Many times in the meetings, we hear these two kinds of peace offerings. Some offer a peace offering of thanksgiving by saying, “Praise the Lord, He is so good to me. I only expected to get a job paying $400.00 a month, but now I have one that pays $550.00 a month.” Sometimes, on the other hand, we hear some of the saints say, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! We don’t care for this and we don’t care for that! We are just here for the Lord’s recovery! Lord, what a mercy that we could be here for You!” This is a vow, and it is voluntary. We may lose our job, we may lose many things, yet we are so strong.
The peace offering for thanksgiving is only good to eat for one day. It cannot last longer; it immediately becomes old. “Hallelujah, I have a better car, and the Lord gave me such a good home. I did not ask for this much, but He gave it to me.” This kind of offering is only fresh for the present meeting. Tomorrow it will be old. After we have told the church that the Lord gave us such a good job, we cannot repeat it tomorrow. If we repeat it again tomorrow, no one will listen. It will stink because it is too old. But a peace offering of a vow is good for three days. We can repeat it the next day, and we can repeat it again.
Thus, the peace offering for thanksgiving is much weaker than the peace offering for the voluntary vow. The voluntary vow is stronger and lasts longer. The difference is in our motive and in our feeling. What kind of motive do we have when we bring Christ into the meeting? Do we only have the motive of thanksgiving, or do we have the motive of a vow? We all must learn to bring Christ to the meeting for a vow. Regardless of whether or not He would do anything for us, we are still for Him. Even if He puts us in prison as He did John the Baptist, we will still praise Him. John was very strong in testifying for Christ, but when he was put into prison, he sent his disciples to ask the Lord if He was really the Christ. In other words, he was saying that if Jesus were really the Christ, He would get him out of prison. But the Lord Jesus told John’s disciples to tell John that He did many things for the blind and the lame, but He would not do one thing for him. He added that John will be blessed if he is not offended. If we would be offended when the Lord treats us in this way, then we could only offer a peace offering for thanksgiving. We could never offer a peace offering for a vow.
Suppose a young sister who has been hoping for a baby boy for a number of years finally has her “Isaac.” I do believe that this young mother will bring a peace offering of thanksgiving to the meeting. But suppose that after six months, the Lord takes away her “Isaac.” Will this sister still bring a peace offering of thanksgiving to the meeting? I am afraid that it will be a weeping offering. If we are here simply for the Lord to do something for us, we can only offer the peace offering of thanksgiving. But if we are here for the Lord, with a voluntary vow for His purpose, we do have a strong motive to bring as a peace offering to the meeting. This offering always lasts longer.
Together with this point, there is another aspect. In the presentation of the peace offering, we always need to offer something new and fresh. We should not offer the peace offering which we offered yesterday. We need something new for today. Every day we need some new experiences of Christ. We all must realize that it is not so good to apply our old appreciations of Christ. It is really poor to apply what we experienced two months ago, and it is also not good to apply something of yesterday. We always need some fresh and new peace offerings.
(Christ as the Reality, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)