First Fruits

Today, I harvested my first mint crop. I’ve never had great success with herbs, and my current garden is my first vegetable garden. And, well, I’ve never had much of a green thumb.WP_20160511_18_23_28_Moment

But today, today I got my first mint for the perfect first iced tea of the season. It is my first fruit.

The Bible talks a lot about our first fruits, primarily in commands to return these to God through sacrifices (eg Exodus 23:19). He has always demanded our best (Cain brought a sacrifice, but Abel brought the best portions of his flock’s firstborn in Genesis 4), blessing those who follow his commands.

So, why is it that we are to give our first fruits (or really, any fruits) in sacrifice? Why does God want that from us, especially as he doesn’t need it?

There are many reasons, reasons I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of times in the obligatory stewardship sermons that every pastor has to give from time to time. A few of those reasons are:

  • we are commanded to
  • it provides for others, both in the church and outside the church
  • it teaches us responsibility and stewardship
  • it puts our priorities in order
  • it turns our attention to Christ

So what is the significance of my mint tea today? This was my first harvest, so it belongs to Christ. This drink is an offering to the one that grew the mint. I don’t believe that all offerings must be something that you give away, like a tithe, but instead that some offerings are something you still might consume yourself (most sacrifices in Scripture were consumed by the priests, at least). This is an offering of my thoughts. With this first harvest, I sit reminded of the goodness of our creator, without whom nothing would grow for me to harvest.

I sit with my mint iced tea rearranging my priorities, using this an opportunity to contemplate the humbleness of my heart and to bring myself more closely in line with God’s desires for my time, my life and my path as I walk with him.

How will God use your first fruits?

 

 

Rejoice, A New Creation!

This week was a very blessed week for my family as my husband and I became members of the church we have been attending since this summer, which has welcomed us with open arms. But even more important than that, my husband made his faith formal and public by taking the sacrament of baptism! For some, the significance of that moment may be less obvious than to others, but it is terribly significant to Christ. It is an act of acceptance and obedience to Christ’s calling and an act of submission to His plan for your life, “an outward sign of inward grace,” symbolic of the washing away of sins and the death of the old man and birth of the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Lobster BisqueBecause of the significance of the occasion, I treated him to one of his favorite meals (and, coincidentally, the most expensive meal I’ve ever made): Lobster Bisque. He’s lucky I love him 😛

A special meal is one of those ways that I like to celebrate significant moments in life because, particularly when you make it yourself, it actively responds to the importance of the occasion. So, here are the reasons I chose to cook him this meal and why to cook something special at all.

  1. It’s his favorite. It’s not my favorite (although it certainly is delicious), but his favorite, and something he doesn’t ever get at home.
  2. It’s expensive. If not today, on what is one of the most important days of his life, then when? He certainly isn’t going to get it ‘just because’ on a Wednesday night! But more significantly, this event deserves an expensive meal. It is a sacrifice to serve such a luxurious meal and, in the same way as the Israelites of the Old Testament would offer burnt sacrifices for spiritual commitment and renewal, I can give this meal to God as much as to my husband, as a thanks offering to His faithfulness and goodness.
  3. It’s not the easiest. I can acknowledge and celebrate the significance of the occasion by putting in a little more effort than I typically would when putting together dinner.

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