God is the source of all good things and He gives good things to us that we may be a source blessing to someone else. Last week, we had a great number of new people giving to the church. This is so encouraging! Pay close attention to how God honors your commitment to giving in the coming weeks.
This week we explore the nature of our giving. Many times we treat God like a dog; we take what we want and then when we don’t want it or need it anymore, we give the rest to God. But we can’t give God any old thing and expect His blessing. God wants us to give to Him first. He doesn’t want our leftover money, time, or effort. He wants and deserves our best.
He never reveals the whole path ahead of time. There is always an element of mystery in walking with God because He wants you to trust Him.
This is where faith comes in. When you drive in the fog, you have to drive carefully because you don’t know what’s ahead. And when you walk with God, you have to proceed in faith with the little information you have. He never reveals the whole path ahead of time. There is always an element of mystery in walking with God because He wants you to trust Him.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. Genesis 4:1-5
Cain and Abel both gave something to God, but God respected only one and not the other. Why is this? Because Abel gave God his best, while Cain gave God his leftovers.
Examples of first fruits:
Israel - Jeremiah 2:3
Christ in His resurrection - 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23
The Holy Spirit - Romans 8:23
Believers - James 1:18
The saved remnant within Israel - Romans 11:16
The 144,000 of the tribulation - Revelation 14:4
The first converts of an area - Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:15
1. Giving first fruits acknowledges God as first. Proverbs 3:9-10
When you give to God first (e.g. tithing right when you receive you paycheck before you pay your bills), you are telling God that He is the provider of everything you have. Before you even use the gift for yourself and your needs, you acknowledge that God is the giver.
When you give last, you tell him he is second rate to your needs. It sends the message to God that you come first – your needs and your wants – and then if you have something leftover, you’ll consider the Lord. But God doesn’t want leftovers. He wants our best.
Pastor Miles gave the analogy of prioritizing his wife above other people. If he enters a crowded room at a party, he goes to her first and greets her with a kiss. This simple gesture acknowledges that she is a priority to him above the other people present.
2. Giving first fruits is a sign that you trust more is coming. Proverbs 3:9-10
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. Proverbs 3:91-0
When you honor God with your first fruits, you expect Him to bless you on the back end, trusting that more is coming.
This is a very powerful concept. When you honor God with your first fruits, you expect Him to bless you on the back end, trusting that more is coming.
“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. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.” Exodus 22: 29-30
Imagine that you are a farmer. Your wealth, livelihood, and food all come from the animals in your possession. If you had an adult ewe that birthed its first lamb, you might be tempted to keep that first lamb as an assurance for the future. But God tells you to give Him that first born lamb, trusting that He will provide another one.
When you give, God will bless you. This doesn’t mean that giving money will make you rich, but that God will be working to bless you in the best way He sees fit, possibly in healing a broken relationship, blessing your health, or providing job opportunities. If you are paying attention, God will show you how He is at work in your life.
3. Giving first fruits secures a blessing on second fruits. Romans 11:16
In Genesis 4, Abel gave God his best, so God respected Abel and blessed him. If you give in the way that God asks you to give, then He blesses the rest. Cain did not do this, so God did not respect or honor his gift.
God’s standard of giving for us is the same standard He models for us. God gave his first born and only Son to die for our sins. Jesus resurrection is the first fruits and the sign that more resurrections (ours) are to come.
4. Giving first fruits is about priority and quality. Romans 12:1-2
Giving God your best shows Him that He is the top priority in your life. He deserves the best of your time, your mental capacity, your money, your energy, and your expertise.
Think about your devotion time as an example. If you give God the early morning time, your first hours of the day when you mind is clear and fresh and your whole day is before you, then you are going to be open to hearing from Him. You’ll be more attentive to His will throughout the day as He prepares your heart for what lies ahead. But if you meet with Him at night after a hard day’s work and a full day’s events, what will you have left to give Him? What will you be willing to hear from Him?
Give your first fruits and watch what God does.
God deserves your best and promises that in return, His blessings will be so many that you will want to give them away to others; you won’t even be able to enjoy it all yourself!
Don’t’ scrape your plate to God once you are finished with the blessings He has given. Instead, give your first fruits and watch what God does.