FIRSTFRUITS AND LEFTOVERS

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I love leftovers, most of the time. I like to eat and since no one else eats that much, if there are leftovers, I am the garbage disposal. Some things are even a little better the second time around. When it comes to eating, I am very “tolerant.” Given a choice, I always like the first serving of the turkey, tacos or tortellini. You know who else likes the first serving? God.

A local and “loco” brother in Christ, Dale Casas (author of Redeemed-The Blood of Jesus), mentioned to me that God wants our “first fruits.” I had always thought of first fruits as the first part of the harvest (Ex. 23:19) and for us, that means our tithes. After we get our check, the first check goes to God! Dale, is a wise fellow, and pointed out that first fruits can also be the first part of our time when we receive a new day. Since that time, I have made a commitment to spend time with God every morning, as I do my decaf. I have continued to meditate on the first fruit philosophy.

God doesn’t just want the first part of the harvest. In addition to the tithe, He also wants our time and talents. Think about this for the New Year. What would you like to be your legacy with God? Do you want Him to have the first fruits or the leftovers? Unfortunately, too often, that is what He gets. “I’m too tired to go to church or help with Awana?”… “ I don’t have the time for this ministry that is beginning at the church.”..” I have some skills but I am just too busy to help out at the church or some very good organizations in the community.” One of my favorite Bible books states, “…faith without deeds is dead!” (James 2:26)

God deserves our best. But what about our families? Do you give your family the leftovers? Does your job get all your energy? Does serving the church take precedence over being there for your wife? Do you often say yes to friends but grumble and gripe when asked by your wonderful wife or kids to do something? Our family is our primary ministry and although we need to work the job, and serve the church, we need to balance and make sure the family’s needs are filled as well. Men’s pride too often keeps them away from the family. If you have this problem, seek out a man to hold you accountable, a men’s Bible study or attend the Promise Keepers conference in Phoenix this May.

If you want to work on bringing your best game to your family this year, a good read is Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. Two of the most important ways to love the family is with quality time and service. Consider giving more of your first fruits to the family this year. Time is fleeting, and too often, men, because of the neglect of their families will find nothing left over!

By the way, God gave to us, His first fruit, “…His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It was not only His first fruit, it is eternal fruit!