“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10
I believe the principle of first fruits can literally transform your life because it has transformed mine. But not only has this promise been a blessing to me, I’ve seen it work in the lives of many others. That is why I am so excited about our “Multiply” series.
But what are first fruits? It’s a farming term and is at home in the agrarian culture of ancient Israel. It refers to the first portion of an Israelite’s produce, which for a farmer would be like the times a year you get paid or get a paycheck. In ancient Israel, this would mean bringing the first fruits of your olive oil or sheared wool or honey or grain or wine—whatever it is that you produce.
First fruits is not referring to an amount that is required as it is the nature of the gift. First fruits is to give, as we would say today, right off the top. It is not about giving 10 percent; it is about which 10 percent. We have 10 options if we use the 10 percent example of which 10 percent to give. Which one of these should I give? You give the first and best. That’s first fruits. The first and best of whatever wealth the Lord has given you. This is a biblical pattern for giving.
In our culture giving the first fruits would be a shock. Most people give only what they feel like they can spare, what’s available because it’s leftover. Money comes in, they take care of their bills and other needs or wants, and give to God what’s leftover. But it’s hard to honor God with leftovers, isn’t it? If we give God the scraps of what we have left, do you think God feels honored as the Giver of every good and perfect gift in our lives? Imagine going to a five-star restaurant and ordering a sumptuous meal. After consuming most of the meal you notice there is a tiny piece of lobster and a stick of asparagus left. You ask to have them put it in a doggy bag so you could take them home.
In essence, that is what we give to God when we fail to give first fruits. We serve him our financial leftovers, not the first and best bites of the meal. We don’t insist that he be the first to have what we are about to eat; rather, we hand him a doggy bag with some bits and pieces of leftover inside.
Yes, that sounds harsh. But when we offer God our “first fruits”—an offering given to Him before we know we will have enough for ourselves, He will respond by truly blessing us with all we need. In Malachi 3:10, God challenges us to test Him in His promise to bless us for putting Him first: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Putting God first in your life by putting Him first brings His favor, His blessing, and a satisfied life. I hope you will learn more about the powerful principle of first fruits and apply it in your life.
- What does the principle of first fruits mean to you, and do you agree or disagree that it is important? Explain.
- What are some things in our lives that might conflict with the principle of first fruits?
- How can we move toward a first fruits mentality?
- Pray and ask God for the courage and faith to give Him your first fruits.