Firstfruits

wpid-20130624_164414.jpgYES, harvest time! About six weeks ago or so, we planted seeds in our garden. Today, I happily went out to pick the firstfruits of our labor. Salad and steamed squash will surely be a frequent favorite on our summer menu. I carefully washed our tender treasure, dried it off and bagged it up for a friend. The balance became dinner for our little family this evening. What a blessing!

In the Bible, “firstfruits” refers to the first and best of each crop that comes in. The very first…the very best. Those were to be selected and taken to the temple as an offering to the Lord.

We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the firstfruits of our crops and every fruit tree. Nehemiah 10:35

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10

Throughout the Bible…Malachi, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Romans, Exodus, Kings…from Genesis to Revelation there is mention of these “firstfruits” and how they should be an offering of the first and the best to God. This doesn’t just apply to the harvest.

As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey and all of the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 2 Chronicles 31:5

Abundantlythe tithe ofEVERYTHING

Everything….God gets the first of everything. And not just a little bit…abundantly! What does that mean for me? Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for me upon the altar that was the cross. So, what can I possibly give? I will tell you. As our Pastor says “Time, Treasure and Talents!” They are all God’s. They come from God and are to be given abundantly back to God.

In the morning, when my feet hit the floor… “Good Morning and thank you Jesus!”…I go into the kitchen and sit with my prayer journal and my Bible. I give the Lord my attention before I look at my “to-do” list, before I eat breakfast, before my attentions are divided and scattered and before my time is demanded by anyone but Him. I want to be honest here; As the mom of two young, very early risers- sometimes there are interruptions. I understand that my husband and children are my ministry and they understand that when I am sitting at the table its precious time with God. Sometimes my time with the Lord is brief. You may remember a past blog or two when the mornings didn’t quite go as I had planned- yet, God showed up to have a chat with me anyways. Still, other mornings I am able to sit and dwell in the scriptures and even blog about my walk with the Lord. (Y’all, it’s 9:20am right now and the kids are playing quietly together this morning…it’s a miracle and a blessing in itself!) But, regardless…He gets the first and the best of my attention. Starting my day with the Lord…firstfruit number one!

Our financial tithe is another “firstfruit”. The Lord provided my husband with a job and the skills to perform well in that job. Each paycheck produces a harvest…and every month that we are able to meet our financial obligations, every bag of groceries, every piece of clothing, every preschool tuition, every toy, home improvement and paper towel in this home is a direct result of that financial blessing. Some months are tighter than others, but we tithe faithfully. Even in the months when the delicate balance of things must be juggled with creativity and care…we never ask “what can we afford to give God this month”. It’s all His anyways and we are fortunate to be blessed with that we have. When I sit down on Friday to view our finances and pay the bills…before I look at the bills, before our unexpected expenses are dealt with, before groceries and tuition…our tithe is the first entry in the check register. As a matter of fact, we recently implemented an automatic withdrawal that goes directly to our church every Sunday. If feels kind of odd not putting that envelope in the plate…but that’s not the important thing here. We give God the firstfruits of our financial harvest.

Sunday morning! That’s another “firstfruit” to be given. The first morning of the week we go to church and get our praise on with our fellow church members. We participate in Bible Study with a small group and worship with our church body. We recently made a commitment to keep our Sunday activity to a minimum. We have been trying to refrain from making plans and commitments and doing chores on Sunday. We have been opting for family bike rides after church and time in the yard or in the pool. There may be weeks when we are at my parents and attend their church instead of our own…there may be afternoons when there is a chore that will have to be squeezed in after church. Regardless- Sunday is the firstfruits of our week and it’s His first!

As I pulled each lettuce leaf and squash from the garden today, I was so aware and thankful for each harvest in my life. Even the bad seeds that I have sown and rotten crops I have harvested as a result have yielded an opportunity to give thanks to the Lord. He gets the first and the best.

Lord, help me to remember to praise you, God, from whom all blessings flow. All that I have and all that I am belongs to You. Help me to receive your blessings with open palms and to pass them on…first giving glory to You and then blessing others. Amen.

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