September 23, 2023
Proverbs 3:9, New King James Version
"Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase"
What would you do if you had been invited to someone’s house and they served you leftovers for dinner? You show up expecting a nice meal and instead sit down to that morning’s bacon and some limp French fries from the day before.
No doubt you would feel a little insulted because you had known this meal was originally prepared for someone else.
If we feel slighted by a meal in which we were only a secondhand thought, imagine how Jesus must feel when we give Him our leftovers, when our giving reflects that our treasure lies with something other than Him. When we give Him the remnants of our day, instead of giving Him the first and best part of our day.
What gets the first and best of your treasures?
The term “firstfruits” is used in the Bible as pertaining to our giving. The dictionary definition of firstfruits tells us that it is the first product or result of anything. It's the idea of “cream of the crop,” “putting your best foot forward,” “giving it your best shot.”
Do we give God our firstfruits? We may not give actual crops, but what are some things we can give the firstfruits of?
What would it mean to us to bring the firstfruits of our time? I think that it means, in part, to start each day by giving God those early moments, those first moments. How often do we jump out of bed rushing to get ready and get to work? Giving our first fruits to rushing around, to our agenda, and not to the Lord.
What about the firstfruits of your talents and gifts? All of us have gifts and abilities, many of which we have developed through our jobs. Are you giving God a portion of those abilities? Or are you using it to benefit yourself and not the Kingdom of God?
What about your money? That’s probably not the most comfortable topic, is it? But think about it: Do you give God the firstfruits of your money, or just the leftovers? Do you give to God first, or wait to see what you have left before you decide what you’ll give God?
In these three areas, are you giving to God the firstfruits or leftovers? Leftover time, leftover energy and abilities, leftover money? If God is getting the leftovers, that has to tell you something about who and what is most important in your life, don’t you think? If God is getting the leftovers, you’re missing the great blessings that are yours when you practice the principle of firstfruits.
Whatever is first makes everything else relative. Often, we ask, "how much can I afford to give Jesus after all these other commitments are fulfilled?” After we get the kind of house we want to live in. After we go on the vacations we think our family will enjoy. After we drive the kind of cars and wear the kinds of clothes we want. After we achieve the lifestyle we want, and after we send our kids to the colleges, we want them to go to.
After all these things, what can we afford to give to God?
In other words, “What kind of leftovers do you think would be good enough for God?”
Jesus does not deserve our leftovers. He deserves the first place in everything.
He also deserves more than a respectable, “good enough” percentage. He deserves a level of giving from us that declares His ever presence in our lives.
Our giving should say “Jesus, You are the reason we exist! You are the point of living! And if You hadn’t reached out first and gone to the cross to save us, we would be lost.”
Consider this: God didn’t give us leftovers, did He? He sent His Son, His only Son, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, as we read in Colossians. God sent us His first fruit—the One who was in the beginning with God. No second-best redeemer; only the best, the first, Jesus Christ. Can we do less?
Put Jesus first. God says in His Word to give Him your first and best, and all the rest He will give to you (Matthew 6:33). Whether you have a lot or a little, you always have something to put first. Make it Jesus.