Tuesday, June 13, 2023

God of First Fruits

This is something you've probably heard in your life as a Christian at least once, probably more than that: God doesn't want your leftovers. 

When God tells His people to bring Him an offering, it is always the first. The firstborn, the first fruits. The best. Something without speckles or spots, without defects. No mushy fruit or broken grain. He wants the first, the best, the absolute utmost of whatever you could give Him. 

Still, we are a people who think most often of our own needs first. We give to God of our money if there's a little bit left at the end of the month, after all of the bills are paid. We take a meal to that family struggling with health issues right now after our plates are rinsed and stacked next to the sink. We wait until we've had a good checkup with our doctor before we offer to help someone who didn't. 

We want to make sure God is taking care of us before we give back. 

It comes from our broken relationships in a fallen world, I think. So many of us have been burned by others. Especially we who are in the church. A lot of us are the type of folk who would give you the shirt right off our back, but over a lifetime of living in a dry and barren land, we've become a little jaded. (Or a little more than a little.) 

All of a sudden, we're checking things out before we give. We're looking into it before we step up. We're doing our due diligence to make sure this is an actual need and not just a handout, that someone "deserves" what we're giving them. 

We've spent so much of our lives giving, and it hasn't come back to us. Or we've been taken advantage of. Or whatever else has happened that has made us feel not so confident about giving. 

And as this has been our experience in the world, it quietly and slowly becomes out experience with God. We start to vet God the same way we vet charities and causes and other needs. We start to question whether God's just taking advantage of us because He knows we're going to give. We start looking out for ourselves first because hey, we've learned that no one else is. We have to make sure we make it to the end of this paycheck before we even think about giving anything we don't "have" to.

But this approach only increases our poverty. 

God is clear about the kind of God He is - He's the God of first fruits. He's the God of best things. He's the God of perfect gifts. And if we would claim to be His people, we have to recognize that by bringing Him those things. 

He promises it won't be like it is with the world. He promises He's not like that. He promises that when we give Him what is first and what is best, He blesses us with what is good and what is more. His story, in the Bible and beyond, is filled with stories of Him doing just that. We don't know what happened to the widow after her two mites, but we know that it was good. It always is. 

He is the God of the first and the best; He is worthy of that. It's His glory. 

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