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By Mike Stickler
“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
In this day and age, most of us don’t have a subsistence garden or crop, or herds of livestock, which we breed carefully for our protein needs. Farming and ranching have become agribusiness, which operate on a huge scale. Those of us who do garden do it because it’s fun, not because it necessarily makes economic sense (it doesn’t).
Basically, it’s far cheaper to buy a tomato than raise one. So the idea of ‘first fruits’ is often overlooked, the celebration of ingathering is hardly even noticeable—typically coming with the rest of the mail as a paper paycheck or, even less than that, simply appearing in our account as a direct deposit and only related to the time we spent on the job, not to bringing the sales/ production/ delivery/payment process to a conclusion. We grow ever distant from the idea of laboring for our livelihood, as in Moses’ time. We just show up for work, do our tasks, and go home ... the paycheck arrives.
But the verse does speak to us today. Within our reality, what could be our ‘first fruits?’ What could we first give unto the Lord as the ‘best’ of what we produce?
Think about it. Wait! Maybe that’s the answer: Thinking.
In today’s working world we often get paid for our ideas, our creativity, our designs, or our productions. These are called intellectual properties. Some of us make a pretty good living at them. I have a friend who is a public speaker and author who donates 100% of his speaking fees to charity. Or another friend who makes his software designs affordable for nonprofits. Or a lawyer friend who gives 10% of his time pro bono. Or an amateur artist who donates his best quality work for auction with a purpose of making a difference in women who have suffered in domestic violence situations. The idea of ‘first fruits’ is to give the best God has given you to produce—and to produce it as unto Him.
Could any of us who make our living with intellectual properties, or, frankly, any of us who works in any production process, possibly deny that the talents, the skills, the knowledge, and even the job we have itself, are gifts from God?
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Take some time to pray today about what you could offer the world. Maybe it’s music lessons. Or professional time. I don’t know, I just challenge you to take the best of it and give it back to His Kingdom.
Write down your plans below.
By the way (or ‘BTW:’ for our cyber denizens), how did the receiver respond when you told them what you wanted to do? How did God bless you with more to give? Include this reaction if possible.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.