When my husband and I pastored the Casa de Oración Church in Huancayo, Peru, there was a beautiful sister in the Lord that at every harvest would bring her “firstfruits.” She had understood the teachings in the Proverbs of Solomon.
Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
I have a picture of her and her husband together with my father. I love that picture because it reminds me of her loving spirit. Here she is:
I was reminded of Yolanda as I published the story for children this week. It’s about a girl who had a garden patch with strawberries. When the first strawberries were ripe her brother asked if he could have them. That’s when she told him they were the firstfruits and that she wanted to give them to the Lord. They had a neighbor that was sick, so she decided to give the first strawberries to him as an offering. I like the picture my Peruvian friend Cristina drew to illustrate the story.
Not everybody has a garden or fields of potatoes and corn, like Yolanda in Peru, but we all make money, and this is what the Bible teaches us about how to handle that:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
The tithe is like the firstfruits—you give it first! Don’t wait and see if there will be anything left over. There won’t be anything left over. But I can assure you that if you give one tenth to the Lord when you get your pay-check, the 90 per cent left over will be enough. And when we give faithfully God’s tithes he will open the floodgates of heaven!
Jesus said it this way:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
My husband and I chose Matthew 6:33 as the theme for our life. It was interesting, because when we were ordering our engagement rings (you do that in Sweden, give each other an engagement ring) I said I wanted a verse engraved in it. Matthew 6:33 said Bengt, and that was my favorite verse. So it became our verse and we followed it the 38 years God gave us together. And God supplied our needs.
Seek God’s Kingdom First
Give the tithes First
Bring the Firstfruits
However we do it, God and his Kingdom need to be FIRST. It’s amazing how well everything else works when we follow that order.