Psalm 116:12-14 (1965 Bible in Basic English)
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
As I was searching for an appropriate picture for this Gem, ‘Give, Take, And Make’, I came across the above representation of a cup and bread obviously signifying communion! And it brought to mind an unusual communion service we had at Olive Branch Baptist Church in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, where I was the pastor for almost twelve years. Now this does not have much to do with ‘Give, Take, and Make’ from Psalm 116:12 through 14, but I just wanted to share with you a memorable communion!
In February of 1996, my wife Hope and I, along with dear friends Marlin and Wilma Miller (then the pastor of Fells United Methodist Church), hosted a group of Christians on a tour of Israel and Egypt. We were due to be back in the United States on Friday, March 8th. In my church, we usually celebrated communion on the first Sunday of each month. But since I was away, we postponed it one week, until March 10th.
One of the street venders in Israel (there were lots of them) was selling small olive wood communion cups. So I ordered 100 of them, to be delivered the day before we were leaving Israel. As I remember, the cost for the hundred cups was about $25. That same day also we toured the Market section of Old City Jerusalem. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Old City are amazing! At one shop I bought a couple of round loaves of bread fresh from the baker’s oven! Everything went through customs with no problems.
That Sunday morning, as we prepared to participate in the Lord’s Supper, I announced that bread from Jerusalem would be offered, and olive wood communion cups filled with the blood of grapes would be passed out as well! These cups were to be kept and taken home as souvenirs! We celebrated communion together that day — a day none of my parishioners, nor I, would ever forget!
Now, let’s get to our Gem, ‘Give, Take, And Make’! The featured Scripture is Psalm 116:12 through 14 (1965 Bible in Basic English):
What may I give to the Lord for all the good things which He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation, and give praise to the name of the Lord. I will make the offering of my oath to the Lord, even before all His people.
What I find a bit strange in the first two of these verses is…
- …in verse 12, the psalmist asks, “What may I give to the Lord…?”
- …in verse 13, he declares, “I will take the cup of salvation….”
He will give to the Lord when he will take something from Him! That’s why I call this Gem, ‘Give, Take, And Make’! (We will get to the ‘…And Make’ part after awhile).
There are many Scriptures in the Bible that tell us how abundantly God gives to man, both general gifts, and to His children (through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) specific gifts! Here are some verses that come to mind:
God gives general gifts (to all mankind):
- Job 5:10 – “…He gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields.”
- Matthew 5:45 – “…He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
- Acts 17:25 and 28 – “…He gives to all life, breath, and all things…for in Him we live and move and have our being….”
God gives specific gifts (to His children):
- Psalm 68:19 – “Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation….”
- Matthew 6:31 through 33 – Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, taught:
“...do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles [unbelievers] seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
- Philippians 4:19 – Paul writes, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
- I Timothy 6:17 – “…the living God…gives us richly all things to enjoy.”
Yes, He gives believers a lot. But the greatest gift the Lord gives us is described…
- …in John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- …in John 5:24 – Jesus said, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
- …in I John 4:9 and 10 (God’s Word to the nations):
God has shown us His love by sending His only Son into the world so that we could have life through Him. This is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins.
- …in I John 5:11 through 13:
...this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have writ- ten to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life....
God has definitely given humanity the ultimate gift of His Son Jesus Christ! It cost Him more than we could ever imagine – Jesus’ incarnation, His life, His suffering, His death, His resurrection, His ascension to heaven, and His reign there! The transaction that Jesus accomplished on our behalf by all He went through can be summed up in one verse, II Corinthians 5:21: “For He [the Father] made Him [the Son], who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
- He took our sins (the sin of all humanity for all time) upon Himself and fully paid for our sins before the Father!
- He made available His own perfect righteousness for us to wear before God instead of our own damning sin!
He saved us from eternal death in hell!
And He gave us eternal life
here and now, as well as forever in heaven!
Does it then make sense that the best gift we can ever give back to Jesus Christ is to take what He has offered us and fully appropriate His gift?
Have you, have I, fully taken what He gives to us?
What about the ‘…Make’ part? Verse 14 of our featured Scripture reads thus: “I will make the offering of my oath to the Lord, even before all His people.”
- Once you have realized what God in Jesus Christ gives us…
- Once you have taken His divine gift of Himself into your life…
- The next step is to Make an offering back to the Lord, a voluntary offering of yourself so all can see it and rejoice with you! Yes, you can make a private decision to give yourself to God, because He gave Himself for you. But making such an offering of yourself to Him ought to result in a visible manifestation of the outworking of that offering, so others can see it, rejoice with you, and be encouraged to do the same!
My favorite offering story is of a young boy who attended a special service where a missionary home on leave from a distant land gave an inspiring account of all that was happening there! It came time after the missionary’s message to receive a special offering for the Lord’s work in that far away land. But the boy came from a poor family, and he had no money in his pocket to give, not even a nickel! As the ushers proceeded down the isles toward the rear pew where the boy was seated, he hung his head and a tear slipped down his cheek. But then he brightened! As the usher holding the offering plate approached, the boy slipped out of his seat and stood in front of the usher.
“Put the plate on the floor!” the boy fairly shouted!
But the usher, totally confused as what to do, just stood there.
“Put the plate on the floor!” the boy loudly demanded again!
The usher, still confused, complied, and set the offering plate on the floor.
The little boy stepped into the plate and proclaimed, “I give me!”