The first is narrated by a preacher, but I haven’t been able to get an original source on the story.
When E. Stanley Jones was a teenager, he got into his Methodist Church midweek and wrote a list of all the things he would do for Jesus. He took the list and laid it on the communion table as though it were an altar. ”This, my Lord Jesus, is what I will do for you.” He bowed before it. Yet he felt no release, no sense of acceptance. So he took the paper back and he wrote more things “I will give all my money to the poor, I will do this, I will do that for you Lord Jesus.” But, again, he felt a pregnant silence from heaven. Then he burst into tears, took the list, screwed it up and threw it away. He took a blank sheet of paper, laid it on the table and he said with knees knocking: “You write and I will do anything. Whatever you write, I will do this for you.”
That’s one offering.
Here’s another story of offering that starts out similar, yet the conclusion is very different. It’s from Horatius Bonar’s Peace with God.
“I knew an awakened soul who, in the bitterness of his spirit, thus set himself to work and pray in order to get peace. He doubled the amount of his devotions, saying to himself, Surely God will give me peace. But the peace did not come. He set up family worship, saying, Surely God will give me peace. But the peace came not. At last he bethought himself of having a prayer-meeting in his house as a certain remedy. He fixed the night; called his neighbours; and prepared himself for conducting the meeting, by writing a prayer and learning it by heart. As he finished the operation of learning it, preparatory to the meeting, he threw it down on the table, saying, “Surely that will do, God will give me peace now.” In that moment, a still small voice seemed to speak in his ear, saying, “No, that will not do; but Christ will do.” Straightway the scales fell from his eyes, and the burden from his shoulders. Peace poured in like a river. “Christ will do,” was his watchword for life.”
Taste the difference.