“When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour...a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.” (Leviticus 2:1–2 ESV).
The ancient Israelite approached God with blood sacrifice, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). One offering, however, was different. The grain offering came not from Israel's flocks, but from their crops. Various forms of grain were cooked or beaten or prepared for God, and then sacrificed to him and given to his priests as a supplement to their meal. Uncooked flour, bread baked in an oven, or bread cooked on a griddle or pan was offered to the Lord.
One reason I love thinking about the grain offering is that the worshipper was giving to God the fruit of their labors. They worked the soil God entrusted to them. They planted, watered, and tended that field. Soon, the seed began to grow. Eventually, an entire crop was ready for harvest. The grain offering was a way for the worshipper to give God a bit of the direct fruit of their hard work through the year.
Life is, as they say, so daily — a little planting here, some watering there, and then slow, imperceptible growth. The ancient Israelite farmer had a family to tend, a community of faith to embrace, and a God to worship. But, mostly, his life was filled with hour after hour of working that field. He tended and watched and problem-solved, all to get that grain.
We often forget how much the life of faith is applicable for our every moment. It is easy for preachers to talk of church life, the prayer life, and relationships, but the workplace is often forgotten. This ought not to be. I fear I have not spoken enough about how the word of God and his glorious gospel informs the way we live out our workplace lives. And it isn't all "God-put-you-in-your-workplace-to-evangelize-the-lost" either. God made your body. He gave you a task. Now you can honor him by doing well and making that bread, son.
Then, after making the grain, we give some to God. It's a way of saying, "God, even my ability to work and produce and create and sweat and earn has come from you. Thank you for helping me. Here's some of my fruit." What a joy! God helps us labor, and we want him to have some of the fruit of our work. The grain offering was a way for Israel to acknowledge God in their toil. I hope we do something similar by recalling and remembering God's great faithfulness to help us in and through the daily grind.