God wants you to flourish in life! I am going to say that until you have it so deeply ingrained in your spirit that no circumstance or situation can move you or change your mind. Too many of God’s people have been brainwashed by the devil and the compromisers of life. They have been convinced to shrink their faith and expectations to the level of their experience, instead of living out a dream built and based on faith in God and His Word. Don’t get caught up in the habit of small thinking! God wants us to expect great things, ask for great things, and move out and be a “David” in the face of every one of life’s giants.
With that in mind, I want to help you understand the First Fruit Offering the Bible speaks of, and why it is so important to every believer’s future.
The first fruit offering was an offering that was given during the spring festival of Passover or what we call the Easter season. It was a celebration of the initial harvest of the year and was presented to the Lord as a gift of gratitude. There was no set amount in the Bible because it was to be an offering that came from the heart inspired by the deep appreciation each person had for the Lords goodness. The people were to bring the first of the first and present it to the Lord. It was an offering separate from the tithe. Moses was commanded by God to instruct the people about the first fruits.
You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God. - Exodus 34:26
First fruits in Hebrew is “bikkurim” and literally means “promise to come”
There was a great expectation with the first fruit offering! Too many promises mean too little in this world. But you can always count on the ONE who never breaks His promise — God! That is why the truth behind this “promise to come” in God’s Word is so powerful. Nehemiah understood this too. When he returned with the exiles and rebuilt Jerusalem he reinstituted the first fruit offering and the tithe...
“On that day men were also appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions required by the law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who served." - Nehemiah 12:44
Nehemiah understood that arranging for the first fruit offering was grounds to go before God and expect to be remembered for good! There are “promises to come”! Promises to be fulfilled and released in your life! Remembering the first fruits offering is an important part of the believer’s life and an important biblical step towards flourishing in all things and living in God’s ultimate blessing.
Let me give you a couple more important reasons for the first fruit offering.
In the world we live in things have become very secular. That means we are busy doing many things; working, eating, playing, enjoying great relationships, school and fitness just to name a few! We can go a whole day and all of a sudden realize that we have not spent any time with the Lord and we suddenly feel like we should take some time and read the Word or pray.
There is no doubt life is busy, but that busyness can separate us from the ONE who should have first place in our lives. We should every day live out a God first lifestyle. God should occupy the first of every part of our day. The Word of God or “pathway to life and blessing” was designed to provide us with moment-by-moment reminders that would turn us towards God in every task of life. We need to live a God aware life. This is what moves us into His promises; it keeps our ears attentive to His voice and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We should thank Him for the first breathe we take in the morning, the first thought we have, or the first encounter with the smell of a good coffee or tea! God deserves the first appreciation from our lives.
Lets go a little deeper!
The tithe is a biblical obligation; it was the first tenth of the income that God said belonged to Him. Both new and old testaments support this idea. Bringing the tithe is required to be a good steward of what God has given us. All that we have has been given to us by the Lord to use for our lives and His purposes. As we take care of all that God has given us it is important to understand that the main requirement God makes of us financially is to bring the tithe into His storehouse. Our faithfulness to this commandment comes with the promise that God will open the windows of heaven and pour you out such a blessing there will not be room enough to contain!
The first fruit offering is not an obligation, but an opportunity to express your love, devotion, and trust in the Lord.
It is with an offering that is not “required” by commandment that we really show our Father in Heaven that our love is by choice and our devotion is without an agenda. It is a pure demonstration of our gratitude and appreciation. An offering generally will evoke a greater response in the one who receives it, because it comes from the heart. By putting God first in your heart, and expressing it with a first fruit offering you keep the main thing, the main thing. I believe what you do with your “first” is a determining factor in life.
I think that it is very important that we begin to remake our lives with God’s culture in mind.
There is the biblical culture that the Word of God describes, and then there is the secular culture that we find ourselves living in most of the time. We have a secular calendar, a secular holiday schedule, a secular week and without making some real adjustment in our lives, the nature of the culture will lead us steadily toward a secular lifestyle, farther and farther from God. When we make the biblical holidays an important part of our lives and participate in the different aspects of each celebration, we mold our lives into a biblical calendar, a schedule or cycle that puts us in step with the things that God sees as important. This is what I believe will have the most impact on our world. We should view the special times or biblical holidays as times that are still very important to God. We have never come to the place where we can pick and choose what we want to have or not have in the Bible. God is pleased when we choose to seek first His Kingdom and I believe that His Kingdom includes the biblical celebrations.
This offering will be used to expand our ability to touch our world locally, nationally and internationally.
The first fruit offering received once a year during the Easter season will provide the needed funds to expand the campus, so we can meet the needs of this community from a faith based perspective. We must expand our youth and children’s facilities, create a Youth Recovery Program, and care for all facility needs, so we can then expand our current ministry services and mission efforts across the world.
As we come into this new season in the house of God at Anthem, I am so proud of the things we have accomplished together so far, but we must not stop! We must press on! I want to challenge you to go the extra mile. Your first fruits offering will allow us to expand the Kingdom for the sake of our children’s children.
I know this should be an offering with one hundred percent participation, where everyone is a part, and the favor and blessing falls on all. What a great day it will be for the Lord and His Kingdom! God will bless you! The promise to come will be released in heaven and seen on earth as you step into this wonderful opportunity. The most important question to ask is this, “Will my first fruit offering express to the Lord what I want Him to know about my love and appreciation for all He has done?” Let that be a guide as you seek the Lord on what to give.
A new season is upon us. A season of return to the ways of Jesus, the lifestyle of Jesus, the truths and holidays of Jesus, and all the things He valued becoming important to us once again. This truly is the pathway to seeing, once again, the powerful world shaking anointing that was on the Early Church. Its time to see it again! Lets each do our part, and together see the greatness of God in our midst!
"We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the first fruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.” - Nehemiah 10:35