In the accompanying photo you can see dozens of votive offerings at a pagan altar on the island of Raiatea. At other altars there were hundreds more. The location is the most sacred pagan worship site in all the Polynesian triangle, Taputapuatea. The people bring mere trinkets to curry favor from their local gods – favor in love, favor in business, favor in the other passing matters of this life. What kind of an awful god demands so little to do such big favors? He is awful because he steals rightful worship away from the Creator God of the universe on the half-sly possibility of a favor which may not be the best thing in life after all. I am reminded of Matthew 4:8–9, “8 Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9 and he said to him, “I will give to you all these things, if you will fall down and worship me.”” On that occasion Satan’s offer to Jesus was grand indeed, yet it was nothing He had not created in the first place or receive at last. How clever that Satan offers for us to worship him on the cheap. Clever and terrible!
At that moment I thought of our awesome God, who asks only that we believe in His Son and His work in return for forgiveness and eternal life in heaven with Him.
Furthermore, Jesus said to His disciples, “25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of me will find it. 26 For what will a person be benefited if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what will a person give in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16:25–26). Yet He is the God that commands us to offer our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). How much greater is our gracious Father than these petty gods and their mean little sacrifices!