The Bible is filled with practical wisdom for life; nuggets of wisdom that can be mined from the Scripture to help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, ESV).
The book of Proverbs is a treasure house of “get smart” lessons about life. Jesus packed the Sermon on the Mount with such lessons: be careful about the foundation on which you build your life house—it makes the difference between prosperity and disaster (Matthew 7:24-27); you better be careful about your criticism of others—it’ll come back to bite you (7:1-2); settle your differences quickly—if it gets to court you’ll pay through the nose (5:25-26). Now that’s about as practical as you can get! And probably any kid in our 456 program can understand it.
There’s another area of life about which God knows we need practical, elementary teaching: the way we deal with our treasures on this earth. So He gives us the principle of “first fruits.” In the Old Testament, God’s people offered the first fruits of the harvest as an acknowledgment that all the fruits of the land came from God. Take a few minutes to read Deuteronomy 26:1-11, taking note of the words with which the worshiper made his offering.
Giving the first fruits recognizes that everything is ultimately from God and belongs to Him. We are just the managers.
Another practical lesson from the principle of first fruits is exactly that—they are the first fruits. In offering them, we demonstrate we trust God’s provision and that there is more to come! So, turn loose and let God be honored for what He has done, all the while remembering that there is a harvest to come.
For me, the final lesson I gain through first fruits is the most practical. And I really need it because treasures have power. They are constantly saying, “Look what I can do for you. Go ahead, you can have it your way. I’m here to serve you.” And pretty soon, if I don’t have some kind of checks and balances in place, the Kingdom of Dale is enriched while the Kingdom of God gets leftovers at best.
A man gave his little boy two quarters before he left for Sunday School: one to give for offering and one to keep for himself. On the way to church, the boy dropped his quarters and one rolled into the sewer. “Well, God,” the little boy explained, “too bad, there goes Your quarter.”
God knows that I’m prone to leave Him on the back burner—that if there’s too much month at the end of the paycheck, He’ll get the short end of the stick. So, He says, “Give Me the first fruits. And trust Me that there will be a harvest to take care of the rest.”
I need the safeguard of first fruits. God will not drop me in the fire when I choose to trust Him as the Good Shepherd of my life.
Make a decision right now to give Him what is His first, before anything else. Then join me as we bring our gifts this Sunday, lift our hands in in recognition of His faithfulness, and sing “My heart is Yours” and these other songs.