Posted by: Jo | October 25, 2013

Best Of Our First Fruits

“Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God…” (Exodus 23:19)

image Just recently I was reorganizing one of my cupboards and I put my hand on what was one of my sweetest presents and as I picked it up I felt the same rush of emotion as when I was first given it many, many years ago. One of my daughters had just started her first real job and was eagerly looking forward to that first paycheck. I imagine she had spent it many times over while waiting for it to materialize in her hand, but what she chose finally to spend it on surprised and delighted my husband and myself. Instead of buying clothes or make up for herself she had chosen to buy for us, an exquisite little, silver serving tray. As I held it in my hands I was reminded of the instructions found in the book of Exodus about giving back to God the best of one’s first fruits and thought my daughter’s giving embodied a little example of that type of giving. She had given out of her labors, first to us, before spending on herself.

I had often wondered about God’s commands about giving the best of the first fruits back to him. Of course he was not going to eat that beautiful sheaf of wheat or that fat little ram, but the action of selflessly giving of the best, that one had produced, was in itself pleasing to him. I think he wanted to instill in the children of Israel and of course us as well, that when we learn to quash that “me first” reaction, we mature spiritually.

In our present day not many of us labor in the fields, but we certainly work hard in other areas of our lives, in fact we may have heard it from our parents, “You must work hard to get ahead in this world.” or “You must work hard at making a good impression on others.” or “You must work hard at showing yourself in the best light to get that job.” image Certainly not bad advice for the young, but when that becomes first priority in any of our lives we are ignoring the Lord’s command to devote our energy first of all to him and his word and then our endeavors will be rewarded by him. Paul writes to the Corinthians;

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

The other words echoing from my childhood came from both parents and teachers; “I don’t want any second best efforts from you!” I am sure our Heavenly Father was saying the same to his children when he asked them to give the best of their first fruits. It is so easy to slip into “second best” devotion time with the Lord. We get so caught up with our busy schedules that a quick prayer on the run is all the time we have in the morning before we begin our day. It is so easy to have a “second best” attempt to show his love to all those in the office, especially when they can be so annoying. It is so easy to allow our love for the Lord to become lukewarm, definitely “second best” compared with his mighty unconditional love for us.

image The Lord can always out give the giver and the joy of giving the best of our thoughts / words / deeds to him, results in him showering us with blessings;

“Blessed be all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” (Psalm 128:1 – 2)

This little poem sums it up

Surer than autumn’s harvests

Are harvests of thought and deed,

Like those that our hands have planted,

The yield will be like the seed.

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Responses

  1. Beautifully written Jo, as always. You will never go hungry!
    much love Jennifer

    Like

  2. Thanks, Jo. The little poem is excellent!
    It is very easy to get slack and give God second (or third….) best. It takes diligence and effort to stay focused. Thanks as always for the well thought out reminders.

    Like


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