Offering Your Firstfruits

grapesA friend of mine from Kentucky planted a commercial vineyard with his father-in-law. The first time they produced a vintage of high quality wine they poured it out on the ground! Consider the hours they toiled in the hot Kentucky summers of digging, planting, pruning, sweating, and investing, particularly in the relentless oppressive humidity of July, only to 'throw it all away'.  What would compel someone to do something so foolish? Faith and love! They honored the Lord with their firstfruits offering. The Bible introduces  firstfruit offerings as particularly dear to the Lord. They were to be the very best one had, and elicited from Him a higher blessing since they represented a higher level of faith and love. Proverbs 3:9-10 confirms this truth:

"Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine."

God promises  'firstfruits' givers that He will fill their barns with 'abundance' and their vats will 'burst out' with new wine!

The Genesis 4 story of  brothers Cain and Abel and their offerings reveals some significance of firstfruits offerings. Lets look at what each one did:

"In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast" (Genesis 4:3-5 NIV).

This event is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:

"By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4).

Abel's offering impressed God, calling it 'a more excellent sacrifice' than Cains, and prompted Him to testify of the righteousness of Abel's action. Cain brought his offering 'in the course of time' or 'at the end of days'. It was like giving left overs -giving from what he had left. God did not look on Cain's offering with favor. Many people give the same way Cain did, from what is 'left over' after paying their bills and buying what they want. 'Left overs' don't honor God, neither expressing faith nor much love.

But Abel's offering was much different, having given the best of what he had (fat portions) and from the first born of his herds. It takes faith to give the first born animal. Their is no guarantee there will be a second born and all money expended on bringing the animal to the age of bearing offspring could be lost.

That's why my friend poured out his first good vintage to the Lord, out of love for Him and faith in Him. It is so essential that we do things for the Lord Jesus solely from a place of love and faith... not to get something. Interestingly enough when you do, the reward is often the greatest. Living in just that way has the potential to unlock heaven's blessings to fill our barns and cause our vats of new wine to overflow. Lets live that way!