Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. -Philippians 2:17-18 (NKJV)
Paul didn’t know what the outcome would be in Rome as he awaited his trial. But if he were to die as a martyr he simply saw it as a joyful sacrifice for God.
The metaphor of the drink offering is an interesting one. Paul goes on to use it again a few years later at his final trial.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. - 2 Timothy 4:6 (NKJV)
When we understand this metaphor we can get a valuable insight into the mindset of Paul.
The concept of the drink offering is seen in Numbers 15:1-10. It was poured upon the main offering or burnt sacrifice. When poured on, it simply disappeared into steam. But, noticeably it is described as a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
In a sense Jesus is a picture that main sin offering to the Lord on behalf of us. We can’t add to that sacrifice.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Heb 10:14 (NKJV)
But there is also a sense that the service of our lives can be seen like the drink offering poured upon it. It is simply a sweet smelling aroma to God.
Look at verse 17 in the New Living Translation:
“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.” (Php 2:17, NLT)
That word ‘service’ here is a specific word to describe the priestly ministry, of which each individual Christian is part of. (1 Peter 2:5). Our lives of faithful service are like offerings to God. Noticeably, this doesn’t just mean in death, but also in life. And that is exactly how Paul describes it in the letter to the Romans.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)
Notice the language used is very similar. Ultimately we are all called to present our lives for service. This isn’t just in a Sunday context but in all areas of our lives. If you want some detail of what that life might look like then read Romans 12:9-21.
As we looked at the list of examples for us in Philippians chapter 2, we noticed that this idea of offerings and sacrifice, stands out in the example of Epaphroditus (The faithful messenger sent by the Philippian church to aid Paul). Look what Paul says in closing his letter:
Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. - Php 4:18
Notice the consistency of the ‘drink offering’ metaphor. We can conclude from this that every area of our lives can be used as an offering for God. This even includes things such as providing aid to those in need.
I think this idea comes at a relevant time as we look to support some churches in Eastern Europe who are ministering to the refugees fleeing Ukraine. At present it appears that the number of displaced people is around 5 million. That is slightly more than the population of New Zealand!
Over the last 2 weeks we have raised around $1,350. There is still opportunity to contribute to this fund. Consider sacrificing something in your life this week that many there are going without. It may be a flat white or some other treat.
My prayer is that our lives would be joyful offerings to our great God, ready to be used in His service.