Spring is peeking under winter’s curtain, and the time for planting is quickly approaching.
Once the plants are in the ground, anticipation begins. We wait until we are able to pluck that first ripe tomato and harvest the first peas and cucumbers. The first offerings from the garden are particularly delightful as they grace our table with God’s bounty.
First fruit. The best. Unspoiled. No bug bites. Cherished.
God called for the Israelites to offer their first fruits to Him when they entered the Promised Land (Leviticus 23). The people of Nehemiah’s day promised their first fruits and first born children to God in recognition of His mercy in bringing them back from captivity to once again secure Jerusalem (Nehemiah 10).
A simple concordance search indicates the term ‘firstfruits’ is used 29 times in the KJV and 32 times in the NKJV and ESV. Some newer scripture versions omit the term but still communicate the principle of first.
Somehow, I think we have drifted away from the principle of first.
God certainly stresses this principle. We are to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). We are to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33).
Too often, though, I’m afraid God gets the leftovers.
Leftover time – when we have done everything we want to do.
Leftover energy – when we have completed every temporal task.
Leftover love – for we set our affection on the things of this world.
Leftover abundance – for we give only after we have satisfied our wants and needs.
But God wants our first, our best, and He gives a promise with His command in Matthew 6:33.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
As is so often the case, we humans have it out of whack. We think “my needs, then God”. God says “worship Me first, and I will meet Your needs”.
I want to remember the principle of first each day as I complete my daily tasks.
- When I wake up in the morning, I want to thank Him first.
- When I sit down to a meal, I want to offer Him thanks first.
- When I begin to pay bills, I want to set aside His offering first.
- When I am in a distressing situation, I want to ask for His guidance first.
- When the ugly head of ‘my rights’ rears, I want to choose God’s way first.
When I evaluate my purpose, my lifestyle, my actions, I want to ask God to help me make His will first in everything I do.
I smile when I pick the first tasty morsels out of my garden each year.
I want God to be pleased when He sees Himself first in my life.
John 15: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [a]takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[b] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
One of our pastor’s complaints when I was a child was people who would arrive late for services on Sunday morning. One time someone tried explaining to the pastor that it was just so hard to get up so early on a “day off” after a good evening of activities Saturday.
What GRACE the pastor showed!!! If it had been me, I would have chewed the guy out for not preparing for worship on Saturday evening (hmm, maybe anticipating Saturday Night Football was why God started the new day at 6pm!! 😇).
But our pastor very graciously used the teaching moment to suggest Sunday was not a “day off” but rather the one day “ON.” He gently provided the man with the lesson of the importance of saving our best for our Creator, and the guy then took that lesson and made the application, “Well, I guess we could go to bed earlier on Saturday.” 😉
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We find it so easy to put ourselves before God. A constant battle with the flesh. Thank you for commenting.
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