When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. Leviticus 19:5

Moses gave the Israelites detailed instructions about how they were to bring their sacrifices. The Israelites couldn’t sacrifice anything anywhere—it had to be in accordance with God’s requirements. Likewise, we can’t just make any sacrifice and expect God to be impressed.

The temptation is that we will make sacrifices that will be to our advantage rather than discern God’s purposes. Perhaps we give our time when God is asking us to make a financial sacrifice, or we may find it easier to give money rather than invest our time. Sometimes we sacrifice in order to boost our own self-esteem or to draw attention to ourselves. We may want to be seen as selfless or caring. We may contribute for what we get in return—people’s gratitude, friendship or approval.

Perhaps we find ourselves in situations where it’s the cultural norm to forgo certain pleasures. It may require time to discern the difference between our Christian responsibility and cultural obligations. It’s also important to remember that God doesn’t want us to make unnecessary sacrifices.

It’s wise to check our motivation. Why are we making this sacrifice? Do we sense God’s prompting? Are we focused on the needs of others or our own?

Today we aren’t bound by the same criteria as the Israelites. Instead, God expects us to seek him for wisdom and guidance. This gives us increased freedom but more responsibility.

We always have reason to feel good about ourselves, not because we have made a sacrifice but because we are a child of God. Our self-esteem isn’t based on what we do but who we are.