Yeah but why are you doing it?
Over and over again we hear God tell His people through the prophets to desire mercy, not sacrifice. I could list many scriptures where God says this very clearly. It is evident that God wants us to be merciful and He does not need our sacrifice. Last week I ran into this idea again while reading Hosea.
Hosea 6:6 (ESV) - 6.) For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
For some reason, as often as it happens, running into it this time hit me differently. In the past when I ran into this concept I took it to mean that we do not have to live a life of religious sacrifice to honor God...and this is right. However, this time I saw it differently. I saw it as a heart issue. We can mow widows' lawns, change single mothers' tires, give to our church and the poor, feed the homeless, chaperone a kids soccer tournament, or any other seemingly selfless or sacrificial service act, however, these actions are only pleasing to God if we do them with a knowledge of Him and with a loving heart. Begrudgingly doing yard work for a widow or angrily drive around kids to games is not worship at all. It is just meaningless sacrifice.
Paul explains this concept well.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 (ESV) - 1.) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2.) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3.) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, a but have not love, I gain nothing.
Paul also tells us in Roman 12:1-2 that we are to approach sacrificial acts in a way that is pleasing and reasonable to God. He says to present ourselves a "living sacrifice, holy and acceptable". To do this we cannot do these things as the world does them but we must be transformed BY RENEWING OUR MINDS... We need to change our thinking!
Romans 12: 1-2 (ESV) - 1.) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2.) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The overarching thought is this. God wants you to know Him, and he wants our works to be a reflection of our love for Him. God created us in His image for relationship with Him, not sacrifice to Him.