In the sutta on the simile of the cloth (MN 7) it says at #SC 7.2:
‘The Saṅgha of the Buddha’s disciples is practicing the way that’s good, straightforward, methodical, and proper. It consists of the four pairs, the eight individuals. This is the Saṅgha of the Buddha’s disciples that is worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods, worthy of hospitality, worthy of a teacher’s offering, worthy of greeting with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world.’
We all know that very well from chanting:
‘suppaṭipanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho, ujuppaṭipanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho, ñāyappaṭipanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho, sāmīcippaṭipanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho, yadidaṃ cattāri purisayugāni, aṭṭha purisapuggalā. Esa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho āhuneyyo pāhuneyyo dakkhiṇeyyo añjalikaraṇīyo, anuttaraṃ puññakkhettaṃ lokassā’ti.
But what is meant by the term worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods? And maybe similar: worthy of a teacher’s offering?
Does it refer to some cultural custom in ancient India? Does it mean these people are so worthy that even gifts dedicated to someone else may be given to them (this would seem strange to me)?