Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV) Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
It makes me laugh how often I am thinking one thing and God has something else in mind. This Bible study took a dramatic turn this morning. It began with the simple thought – “Lord, I want you to reign over all of my life.” A deep, dawning of the reality of priority when it comes to the placement of Jesus in my life. As always, He displaces my finite thinking to a Kingdom level and I am blown away. I was praying yesterday that I might be an empty vessel for Jesus Christ. I want the Lord to flush my stinking thinking and worthless endeavors to fill each moment with opportunities to bring glory to His Name. All day – every day. I want to live and breathe Jesus Christ. I have also learned that this is not about doing stuff all the time or giving every second of our time to servitude. In fact, I believe that is our excuse. It is easier to give God our tangible gifts than to bless Him with intimacy. To reserve time and space for firstfruits offerings that are not of a substance other than our faith. Our faith in the Power of God is to believe that Jesus rules and reigns over the earth. He remains in His Position at the right hand of God until every enemy is put in its place including death (the final enemy) who is abruptly destroyed in the reality of the final resurrection of all who died in this life. So today – I am challenged by firstfruits offerings. What does it mean? What does the Lord require? What is the benefit? Am I willing to do it?
What is firstfruit anyway? It is the first ripened part of the harvest that furnishes actual evidence that the entire harvest is on its way. The first berry on the bush so to speak. It might be human nature to pluck it and try it to see if the fruit is any good. Or take it and sell it – waiting to see how much is produced to determine the size of the offering. People often devour their seed before planting it for fulfillment. God requires the firstfruit of every harvest to partner us in the harvest. Why? What will be will be? Not so fast, friend, the Word of God says otherwise.
Exodus 22:29 (NKJV) “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.
God doesn’t offer a suggestion but has made it a requirement to not delay in the firstfruits offering. He is quite straightforward and brings it home. It becomes quite personal. I will give “things” away. However, God goes on to say, “The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me.” Whoa! Wait! Hold up. It is our all and all that must be evaluated to determine if the first portion of all increase belongs to the Lord. What is increase in your life? Anything and everyone that yields benefit and blessing. Your job may be a living nightmare but it gives you money. Every minute of time is an increase of life to which the Lord requires a portion. We must not rob God of what is rightfully belongs to Him and expect fulfillment in our life. Which leads me to this?
Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NKJV) “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. If firstfruits is an offering by faith (evidence of our confidence in fulfillment), it is in direct correlation to our belief and confidence in our Creator. He is the One who fills heaven and earth so when the windows of Heaven open the harvest is full. What do you need? Want? Desire in this life? Firstfruit offerings are the precedent of productivity in the life of a believer. It means praising Him in the storm. Celebrating small beginnings from the start. Praying in our pain. Seeking grace in every weakness. The priority of the firstfruit offering seems like a large price until the harvest comes. Faith makes the impossible possible. Miracles require human impossibility. Faith moves mountains yet hard to release. Don’t save it for a rainy day or when times are tough. Start sowing seeds of faith now. The rain is coming and harvest is growing. God just needs a vessel. Like the woman who borrowed empty jars from her neighbor, she had enough oil for all the vessels that she had. It stopped when there was nothing left to fill. We must give God time and space to promote every harvest that He has ordained for us. It begins with an offering. A firstfruit offering in the field that we lack.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NKJV) But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
When my husband and I first married, we also committed our life to Jesus Christ completely. One of the first areas of faithfulness we tried was tithing. We both worked and made less than $50,000 a year. I blessed him with three children from the start and within a year – God blessed us with another. Upon her arrival, I told him within minutes that I would not leave her. I couldn’t go back to work. He assured me that I could. I had to. We could not survive financially without both incomes. Well, the Lord had other plans. I didn’t go back to work and our income was cut roughly in half. We also decided to wait on buying a house because we thought it impossible with the financial change. Through it all – we were still tithing. Within a few months, a realtor called us. We went to look without any expectation. God gave us that house. Too many times, we “sacrifice” for God not knowing that He was already working for us outside the offering. He just was waiting for us to partner with Him. Stop delaying the offering and urging of your heart today and just do it. Why? Faith without works is dead. It may not be monetary – money doesn’t change our life or who we are but only allows it to be revealed. I have lived in the Favor of God for two decades and would not leave it. It doesn’t matter how “bad” things look or feel – God has never ever let us down! He is always faithful. I have come to the mountain of sacrifice when I thought God was taking something from me only to find out that what He had was so much better.
I encourage you today to examine the fruits of your labor. All your labor. Naturally, physically, mentally, spiritually – the tangible and intangible productivity of your life. Does God have first place? Are you giving Him the firstfruits of it all? Are you doing so cheerfully? A cheerful giver is willing to give without delay and not reluctantly. I want to be that giver. To hear the Voice of God and move instantly with Him. Fulfillment is not a mechanical guarantee but a privilege given in our righteousness with God. It is only achieved by faith and trust not in what we give but the intent of our heart in the giving. Lord, make me an empty vessel. Dump out the worthless and fill me with Your Glory today. I want to prosper as my soul prospers. You created me to thrive not merely survive. You have given me Christ who is inside of me. He is the One who leads me from victory to victory and glory to glory. Keep my heart, mind, eyes and ears fixed on you – for You are the Lord of the Harvest. Lord, I want to live a life reminiscent of Naphtali who was described as one who lived satisfied by Your Favor and full of the Blessings of the Lord. Fill us Lord. Overflow us with Your Love, Kindness, Goodness and Favor. Teach us to make room for more of You. It begins in our giving.
Luke 6:38 (NKJV) Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”