My Part In His Offering

Many people believe Christianity has outlived its usefulness. Others believe that Christianity cannot be good because of the many horrific things done throughout history in the name of Christ.

Neither of those is true.

Christianity has never been more relevant than it is today, and there is no one who mourns those atrocities (ancient and modern) more than Christ does.

I believe in Christ. I believe He did for me and all of us exactly what the Bible and other scriptures claim He did. I believe in a loving Heavenly Father (God, if that suits you better). I believe that true followers of Jesus Christ have love for all people and seek to understand before being understood. I believe true Christians are especially careful in passing judgment. I believe it’s not easy to be a true follower, but I believe it is worth every effort.

In 1927, Edward Partridge Kimball penned the following words:

God loved us, so he sent his Son,
Christ Jesus, the atoning One,
To show us by the path he trod
The one and only way to God.

He came as man, though Son of God,
And bowed himself beneath the rod.
He died in holy innocence,
A broken law to recompense.

Oh, love effulgent, love divine!
What debt of gratitude is mine,
That in his off’ring I have part
And hold a place within his heart.

In word and deed he doth require
My will to his, like son to sire,
Be made to bend, and I, as son,
Learn conduct from the Holy One.

This sacrament doth represent
His blood and body for me spent.
Partaking now is deed for word
That I remember him, my Lord.

The Sacrament, the Lord’s Supper, and Communion all have in common that bread or a wafer represent the body of Christ and water or wine His blood. In the vernacular of my church, one partakes of the Sacrament in remembrance of Christ and what He offered. The Sacrament is also a renewal of promises to God to make daily effort to keep the commandments; to recommit oneself to doing and being good. In short: remember Christ by emulating Him.

Recently, I sat in Sabbath worship services in my church. The hymn I quoted above was sung by the congregation before the administration of the Sacrament. Two phrases struck me in a way they haven’t before:

That in his off’ring I have part

and

Partaking now is deed for word

That in his off’ring I have part

Prophets throughout history have testified of Jesus Christ and His great atoning sacrifice for humanity. In the words of one ancient prophet:

For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

The hymn raised an interesting question in my mind: what is my part in His offering? If the sacrifice spoken of in this passage can’t be “of man” then what is my portion?

The answer to that question will be different things for different people in different seasons of their lives. For me, on that Sabbath day, the answer was in how I apply that “infinite and eternal sacrifice” in my own life. I believe that Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to give me a path back to God. The reasons why I believe that to be true are many and varied — and are a topic for another day. Suffice it to say, His sacrifice is the only way. Knowing that gives me hope and greater motivation to ensure that His sacrifice, for me at least, was not in vain.

The idea that I have my own work to do to make His sacrifice effective in my life is born out in the second phrase that caught my attention.

Partaking now is deed for word

Partaking is more than the mere acts of chewing up and swallowing a bit of bread or wafer and sipping a small cup of water or wine. Partaking is, at minimum, three things: first, acknowledgment of and belief in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Redeemer; second, a renewal of my commitment to be like Him; and third, ingesting a bit of food.

As in many denominations that offer sacraments, in my church there are specific, set prayers that are offered to both bless and sanctify the Sacrament. You can read those prayers here and here. Those words serve as a reminder of the promises I made a long time ago to follow Christ completely. Of course, I need His atoning sacrifice daily to stay the course. The deed of partaking is a reminder that all my deeds should be worthy of His name.

John H. Groberg once said, “As we worthily partake of the sacrament, we will sense those things we need to improve in and receive the help and determination to do so. No matter what our problems, the sacrament always gives hope.”

That in his off’ring I have part and Partaking now is deed for word are two phrases that will stay with me as a reminder of my purpose as a follower of Jesus Christ. My purpose as His follower is not to be perfect. My purpose is to follow Him the best I know how and to help those who desire it to do the same.

Married to my best friend. Father to five exuberant children. Fledgling entrepreneur. Writer. Software developer. Inventory management expert.