First Fruits

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.

Proverbs 3:9 (NLT)

Grocery shopping for those who live in the country is a bit different. You don’t just run to the store down the street. You basically plan on spending half your day in town doing shopping for various things. For us, it’s about 45 minutes to the closest city, so just travel time takes an hour-and-a-half. It’s a huge time suck, and we usually do it once per week. (I say we, but truly my wife, who is amazing, does it most times.)

A while back my wife returned from the store with a bunch of groceries – you know, snacks, sandwich making stuff, vegetables, and fruit. I love fruit! She had gotten a watermelon which looked delicious. When we carved it open, however, we found that it was completely rotten on the inside. It was gross looking and smelling. Unfortunately, there was not taking it back. It was wasted. Needless-to-say, I was super disappointed that the store would sell us a melon that was rotten.

How many times do we, however, bring rotted goods to God? Now, I’m not talking about fruit and vegetable. I’m talking about our giving. Statistics show that only about 50 percent of church members pay any sort of tithe to support the church. Additionally, only a small fraction of people actually give an offering to support the various ministries of the church. I did some math at some point (I know, shocking!), and figured out that if a congregation of 100 people gave $20 per week, the total collected for that small church would be $8,000 per month. Unfortunately, most churches of that size have a budget of less than half that. In other words, we aren’t giving, even though Scripture tells us to give in support of the church’s mission.

King Solomon had some words of wisdom to share on this topic. He wrote, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” To Solomon, this means God must come first in our finances and giving. He gets the “first fruits,” which means the best stuff. We give to Him, and His church, first. It’s a priority in our lives.

So, this weekend, and every weekend, drop a little extra in the offering plate. Honor the Lord with your finances.

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