For the past three months, I kept hearing the Lord mention to me the word "first fruits" over and over again. Also around this time, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me to trust God with $50 each week we received our paycheck. I know you may be thinking that this is not a lot of money but with my household budget already about to burst at the seams, I was ready to suggest to God a few different places where that money could have gone. So, I continued ignoring his promptings for awhile and realized just how hard it became to keep up with all the payments and bills during that time. Soon the money seemed to disappear faster than I could even blink. Quickly, I realized that I might need to lay down my thoughts about money and just trust in what He was asking of me. I mean what did I have to lose and how could the outcome be any worse than what it was already. Right?
Well, I will never forget the month where I allowed myself just to follow God's lead! As soon as our paycheck cleared, I put aside the $50 first for God. Then I found a charity that my family and I could agree on and even asked God if this would be a place where he would like the money to go. I can tell you in that month God showed up and out for my family and me! Before, where there was a struggle to make all payments on time or in full, God made way for us to pay everything. See the lesson God wanted my family and me to learn, in this season of life, is that when you put God's kingdom first, He will add all things unto you. (Matthew 6:33) What I did not realize was this experience taught me some valuable lessons about tithing that I never fully comprehended even though I grew up in the church.
When I was younger, I always heard my Baptist pastor say, "It is now time for tithes and offering" but realized as I grew into an adult that I never fully understood why this was so significant. Even though as a child, I always came ready to give whatever few coins or dollars my parents would give me to the church in the hopes that it would help someone or something. What God has shown me is that we must first understand the practical reasons as to why tithing is important. For God's kingdom purposes to be manifested here on earth, there must be some financial backing of some sort. Think about it this way. If we, as Christians, are unwilling to support Kingdom businesses or ministries, then who else will? Now, I am a firm believer in, of course, praying and seeking God for which businesses or ministries to place the money he has blessed you to receive. I also believe that God is faithful to provide you with an answer! The Bible says in Proverbs 3: 9-10 KJV that we should "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Basically, by providing God with our first fruits and making this a priority, there is an abundance that He wants to pour out on us.
Secondly, we must give our first fruits back to God cheerfully. According to Strong's Concordance, the word cheerful is defined as prompt or willing. The Bible shows this in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 KJV which says, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." The word soweth defined by Strong's Concordance means to scatter. So when we sow cheerfully, we are actively distributing God's love and resources around the world. During that time when I trusted God with $50, I prayed over the money, speaking life into my families seed, that it would grow and spread God's message to all it touched. Doing this action before tithing transformed my heart and mind. It helped me to think about others, who may have or may not have known God, but in this season just needed a helping hand. See, I have walked on both sides of the spectrum, I have been the one desiring a seed and the one to sow into others. My perspective has allowed God to show me that we all need each other to move forward the Kingdom here on earth.
Third, we give our first fruits to spread God's message to the four corners of the world. Luke 8 echoed this when Jesus shared with his disciples the parable of the sower and the seed. His disciples asked him about the explanation of the parable and in Luke 8:11 Jesus answers "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." As followers of Christ, this is our first mission. When we give our time, money, expertise, spiritual gifts, etc., we are spreading the word of God to the places and people he has placed on our heart to sow. Through sharing these different aspects of ourselves with others, God is able to send someone in the body of Christ to plant the seed, to water it, to reap the harvest, and repeat the process. Thus spreading the Gospel! So I encourage you, if God has been asking you to trust him in an area of your life regarding your first fruits, to know that He will not leave you lacking any good thing. (Psalm 34:10)