The Heart of the Matter

This week’s portion is Vayikra, the first portion of Leviticus (Vayikra). I found it interesting to learn that Jewish children are taught this book first rather than the first book, Genesis. The Rabbis teach us that it is because the offerings of this book are pure, like the heart of little children.

In this portion the fire offerings on the altar are described and prescribed. It is often confusing to those raised as Christians because they think the sacrifices ended because the messiah died but this is not the case. The apostles continued to make sacrifices for 40 years after His death and resurrection. But, I digress, this is a discussion for another time.

I want to focus here on the differences in the described offerings. Different animals are prescribed as well as a grain/bread offering. The sages say: the large ox, a sweet savor a pleasing aroma, a small bird, the same as well the grain. All a sweet savor. Why the same you wonder. The sages tell us that it is to teach us that the size of the offering does not matter as long as the giver’s heart is directed to heaven. Kavanah – our intention – is the great equalizer. This is perfectly illustrated in the Gospel when Yeshua speaks of the older woman who gives just two small coins and says that her gift is the greatest of all as she gave from her need while others gave from abundance.

God looks at the intent of our hearts. When Samuel the prophet was looking over David’s brothers to anoint a king one – David – was missing. He was smaller and was tending the flocks. God said to Samuel – man looks at outward appearance, God looks at the heart.

In these times when what we can offer seems small, what we can do is offer online. In many ways. Prior to this very few did but now 100% of our budget comes this way as we can’t meet together in prayer or otherwise. Please give to your particular ministry. But there are other ways to use social media, maybe you have other gifts to give. Someone I know wanted to share their music online but felt shy about it. Here’s the t;hing, when the intention of our heart is correct, we will be given the right attitude and strength to do something we might feel reluctant to do.

This is the time to use our gifts, small or large. The only point is the intention of our hearts. During this time if you can offer encouragement – you must. If God is impressing on your heart to do something on social media to get the gospel out then I think you are doing something wrong to say no to that leading of the spirit.

I have been so encouraged to see churches and synagogues streaming services and messages live and recorded on line. Our parent ministries, Yeshuvat Shuvu and Ahavat Ammi have been streaming some morning prayer services, shachrit and my local congregation, Beth Judah have streamed shabbat services from the home of the Rabbi and Rebitzin. These things continue to link us together.

Remember, no matter what it is we have to offer, if our heart is in the right place, directed toward heaven, then all of these things are equal to the Lord. It is a sweet savor. Shabbat Shalom.

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Pastor Matt McKeown

Matt is the Senior Pastor at the United Brethren in Christ Church (UBIC) in Holly Hill Florida. It is his desire to see Jewish people recognize Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah and for Christians to recognize the Jewish foundation of their faith.

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