First, Last, or Somewhere In Between

First-Fruits6Firstfruits:  This is a word that is rarely used today; however, it was an important principle in the Old Testament. People were to honor God by giving Him the firstfruits of their time, the harvest, and all of their resources

God has given you His best, and He wants the same from you.  This statement is easily confirmed by Scripture:

  • Exodus 23:19:  You must bring the best of the first produce harvested from your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
  • Proverbs 3:9:  Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.

Paul used the the churches of Macedonia as an example of the Principle of Firstfruits:

During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.  I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,  and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God’s will.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

Do you give God the firstfruits of your life or the leftovers?  Think about it:  What if every member of the church was like you?

  • How much prayer would there be if everyone prayed like you?
  • How many people would hear about Jesus, if everyone shared their faith as often as you do?
  • If everyone served like you serve, how many hungry and hurting people would be helped?
  • If everyone attended church as often as you, would the church ever be filled?
  • If everyone gave as you give, could the doors of the church remain open?

Paul encouraged Timothy to be “an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (I Timothy 4:12).”  What kind of an example are you?  Where is God in your life?  Is He first, last, or somewhere in between?


Eye-Opening Behavior

downloadWhy do you do what you do? Why do you work where you work? You may have never given much thought to these questions, but Paul knew the answers to them, and he testified of it in Acts 26: “I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Paul believed he had been commissioned to open eyes and to turn people from darkness to the light. It takes more than just talk to accomplish such a task. It also takes a consistent walk. This is why you are to, “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).”

Do you live an eye-opening life that turns people from darkness to the light? Do people look down on you or do they look up to you? This was a topic that Paul discussed with Timothy: “Don’t let people look down on you because you are young; see that they look up to you because you are an example to them in your speech and behavior, in your love and faith and sincerity (I Timothy 4:11-12).”

When you live a Christ-honoring, eye-opening life, you are an example in your speech, behavior, love, faith, and sincerity. I think this is part of what James had in mind when he said: “You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works (James 2:18).”

Is your faith an eye-opening example that points people to Jesus?