(March 16, 2022) Maureen McQuillan responds to a someone who’s concerned about ‘owing God’…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I know I owe God so much for all He’s done for me… salvation through the gift of His Son Jesus and so much more. How can I pay Him what I owe? Yours, Jane.

Dear Jane

Owing God? Yes, we owe Him so much… but it’s impossible to pay God back for anything He’s done! At least not financially.

Look up the word ‘owe’ in the KJV and you’ll find that the only place this word is mentioned is Romans 13:8, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another…’

‘Owe’ here is opheilō… to be under an obligation and we could easily think in terms of money owed to someone or an organisation, especially when we recall that Jesus had something to say about owing people! (Matthew 18:28, Luke 16:5. And Leviticus 25:53 instructs business owners to pay workers what they owe them).

But nowhere does scripture require us to ‘owe God’ financially! What scripture does encourage us to do is support our local church. By extension this can also be some purposeful evangelist, missionary, or other genuine ministry God has directed us to support.

Jane, ‘owing God’ isn’t like owing a human being or organisation! God through Jesus has done it all! He has paid the price through His sacrificial death on Calvary. Even if we were trillionaires we could never pay back what we owe our God or our Saviour Jesus or His blessed Holy Spirit (in the opheilō sense)!

In the scripture above Paul clearly says that our ‘owing obligation’ is to love others! What we ‘owe God’ is found in Romans 12:1-2 – ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.’ 

None of us can ‘pay’ God what we ‘owe’ Him by financial means, only by what’s known as ‘bodily sacrifice.’ This, says Paul is true worship, not even praising Him through good old-fashioned hymns – and certainly not hyped-up loud, meaningless modern, almost ‘worldly’ choruses!

So how do we worship God by our bodily sacrifice? It simply means giving your whole life over to God and allowing Him to do with you whatever He desires. Now, don’t get frightened! Paul encourages us  to ‘be transformed by the renewing of our mind.’ And he further explains things in Romans 6:13bNLT – ‘…use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.’

Using your whole body as a dedicated instrument of worship is doing whatever you can, whatever He asks, for the glory of God.

As we commit everything to God, we find His blessed Holy Spirit who dwells within us will direct and assist us to achieve whatever God wants of us. This is usually ‘a knowing that we know that we know’ within.

Here’s a very personal example, Jane – decades ago I sensed God whispering to me that He was going to use me to minister, to communicate to others. My immediate reaction? ‘No way, Lord. Who… little me, five foot nothing? I can’t. I’ve never ministered up front… that’s Robert’s thing!’ Guess what happpened?

Shortly afterwards to my surprise I was asked to be the speaker at a large church’s women’s conference only a few weeks away! I couldn’t believe that I was accepting the invitation without querying it! So nervous, so uneasy, I made so many pages of notes, prayed often and ‘hard’ and was on edge right up to the first day of the conference. But… I trusted the Lord, and ‘gave myself over as a living sacrifice’ to Him.

And the Spirit took over, both conference and me! Out-of-the-blue, the lady leading that first afternoon said, ‘Someone here has a word for us, a scripture to share.’

Nobody moved and she repeated herself. Still no one moved. Suddenly I was discarding my pile of notes and moving to the pulpit. Trusting God, I turned to the camp-packed of ladies whom I hadn’t even been introduced to as speaker and who didn’t even know me… and the Holy Spirit took over!

I opened my Bible, read a scripture, and let the Lord speak through me to bless those ladies. I also prayed for many and had many prophetic words to share throughout the weekend.

Jane, it was the beginning of decades of ministry, both in my own right and along with Robert. It also led to me being on television and not ever being nervous about ‘being upfront’ again!

So think of how God can use you… your professional background, talents and God-given skills, your knowledge and trust of God, ministry experiences to date and such. Eg your whole body.

This is what being ‘all in’ means. God wants a life that is a living sacrifice, an ‘all in’ life, and this is what we owe Him. And we accomplish this ‘owing God’ through what Robert calls ‘the 3 Ts’… our time, talents, and treasures (our offerings, gifts, and such). He wants us to devote ourselves fully to Him, not just some portion!

So to conclude… simply ask Him what He really wants of you. There will come a knowing that you know what. Then go for it in faith, trusting Him further.

Got a question for either Pr Maureen or Dr Robert McQuillan? Email to OnlinerConnect@gmail.com

One comment

  1. The thought of ‘owing’ reminded me of the words of an old song. ‘He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sin away and now I sing a brand new song, AMAZING GRACE, the whole day long, for Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.’

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