You have the first piece!

Read: Proverbs 3 and Mark 12:41-44

One day two little boys were each given a box of chocolates by their grandfather. The first boy took the package into his bedroom, tore into it, and stuffed the candies into his mouth until he had it smeared all over him. The other boy unwrapped his package in front of his grandpa, opened the box and looked at all the candies, then raised the box to his grandfather and said, “Thank you for giving me this candy! Here, you have the first piece!”

The ideal of firstfruits giving is evident throughout the Bible. In Exodus 34:26 it says “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.” in Proverbs 3:9-10 it says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barn will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

The word wealth in that verse is relative. What I mean by that is that firstfruits giving to God is something that should be practiced no matter how much one makes. Jesus gives the perfect example of that in Mark 12 when he tells the story about the poor widow who gave all that she had.

When we give to the Lord it should be with the attitude that the second boy in the story above had. He was overjoyed with what he had been given and he offered the first of it back to the giver, his grandpa. When we have a heart that gives to God freely we find ourselves blessed beyond measure.

Those blessings may not always come in things or money, but true joy is not found in those things. True joy comes to us when we know we have taken the first and the best of what God has given to us and given it back to him as an act of worship.

J. Oswald Sanders once said, “The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep for ourselves.” That put’s it into a very helpful perspective for us.

The Lord wants us to have the provisions we need. He cares for us, provides for us, and blesses us at times with abundance. But when we see it as the Lord’s, first and foremost, it makes it much easier for us to give with a thankful and worshipful heart.

Make it personal: The next time you sit down with a paycheck or income of some sort start by giving to God, and then pay your bills and buy your other things. People who practice this act of firstfruits giving most always report the blessings that come from saying, “Here God, you have the first piece!”

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church