As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 2 Corinthians 9:7-10
Simply put, whatever we put in we get out.
I decided to write about tithing and first fruits after watching my 2 year old grandson. Lincoln loves grapes, bananas, watermelon, apples, the list goes on, he loves fruit. When ever he is given any type of fruit he is asked to share some with others. (His momma is bringing him up right) With a smile on his face he always shares what he was given with anyone in the room. Great right? Here’s the kicker, I noticed that he is given a bowl of grapes he immediately, and cheerfully, gives more than half away before he takes even one for himself. He does this with everything he shares. MORE THAN HALF! Can we say the same for ourselves?
If we are given 10 apples do we immediately take 1 to God? The best one? And than rejoice that we are left with 9 beautiful delicious apples? Or do we look at all the apples, pick out the worst looking one and then take it to God? And on the way to taking that one poor excuse for an apple to God do we start taking bites out of it? How does that make us feel when we leave that partly eaten, rotting apple for God? Better yet, how do you feel when you witness a child cheerfully given away more than half of what they have, and completely happy with what they have left? I am completely overjoyed when I see my grandson so freely and cheerfully sharing the best of what he has. And at times I’m ashamed of myself for not always following the example of a 2 year old.
So lets talk about tithing and first fruits:
A tithe is one-tenth part of one’s income. Tithing, or giving a tithe, goes back to ancient times, even before Moses. In the Bible, Mosaic law required that the Israelites give one-tenth of the produce of their land and livestock, the tithe, to support the Levitical priesthood (Leviticus 27:30-33). Today, many Christians donate a tithe, or ten percent of their income, to support their church, the pastor’s needs, and missionary work.
In the Old Testament “First fruits refers to the first portion of the harvest that is given to God.
A First fruits ceremony is described in detail in Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Note that the “firstborn,” whether human or beast, was also considered of God’s special possession and can be considered a type of first fruit. Exodus 22:29, 34:19
By giving God the first fruits, we acknowledge that all good things come from God and that everything belongs to God. Giving the first fruits is a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first fruits, so He would provide the rest of the crops that were needed.
Remember that the Feast of First fruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering, without land or crops. It was observed in faith that God would lead the people to the land He had promised.
What does first fruits mean to Christians today?
While there is nothing in the New Testament binding Christians to give “first fruits’ we do know that God loves a cheerful giver. Christians are expected to give of our substance to support the work of the church and missions. We, like the Israelites need to give.
All Christians are especially dedicated to God in the manner of first fruits. As it is written in James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” We need to be mindful, just as God wanted Israel to be mindful, that we and all we have belong to God.
In the bible first fruits meant simply giving God the first of your fruits on a tree or the first lamb or a calf that is born.
In today’s world it would be your first salary or the first promotion you receive. Now please remember none of these are laws but your willful giving to honor God even in your finances.
Tithing in Malachi Teaches Three Basic Reasons
1. Food in the House of God. Your finances bless the ministry of the house of God. You help the Church to do more and reach out to more people in knowing Jesus.
2. It opens heavens. Tithing is not about money but your faith and faithfulness. It touches the heart of God that there is nothing that you won’t give back to Him.
3. It releases God’s blessing over your life in different ways even to your generations to come.
Have you ever noticed that most people will give a waiter a 15% tip, or more. Should we treat God any less? Allow God to lead you on how much you should tithe.
You may know of Mr. William Colgate, (Colgate Toothpaste). William Colgate arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10 percent to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20 percent. Then a triple tithe, a four fold one, 50 percent – finally he was giving 90 percent and living on the 10.
Pastor Samhwan Kim of Korea also makes the following observation about two very wealthy men in his book, “J. D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and Carnegie (1835-1919) were tithe-giving Christians who followed Jesus as Lord and Savior. They gained much of the world’s wealth and used them for God’s work all over the world.”
Paula Ryan a non-Christian writer states, “In fact, some people who tithe eventually discover they can effortlessly give away 90% of their income and live comfortably on the remaining 10%. John D. Rockefeller experienced this joy.”
Remember, the only condition of giving from the Bible is to do cheerfully, “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 Don’t do it for a reward but do it because you love God and want to obey His word. Don’t give to get but give because God first gave – even His only begotten Son.
I’ll end with this – A faithful giver is good but God is looking for crazy givers in this generation. I pray that you and I will be crazy! My grandson is the craziest person I know, and I love him for it.