“'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,' says the Lord of hosts, 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” Malachi 3:10
This past week-end we finished bringing in the last of the harvest we would need to put away to feed our animals for the winter, and with winter as long as it is here in Minnesota that meant we have worked many long and tiring hours to finish this task. On top of that harvest, we have also found the Lord blessings our gardens and we have almost filled the freezers to the top with food we have put away from our gardens. Actually, we are to the point that now that we have other people coming to pick vegetables out the gardens because there is no place to put this extra food nor time to continue preserving it.
At the beginning of the summer I had many hopes that our storehouses would be filled and ready for the long winter, but only God knew for sure they would be filled. In the spring before our calf was born and we started milking, before our chicks made it past their most vulnerable stage of life and really started growing into productive layers and meat birds, and when the gardens had tiny seedlings with only potential of providing many wonderful vegetables, the unknowns regarding our farm productivity for the year were plentiful and the assurances were few. Only God knew for sure what we would take in at harvest time and therefore we had to trust Him to provide from the things we put our hands to work doing.
Giving out of our plenty at the end of a harvest is easy – when we have all we need and are willing to give whatever we have left over. That sort of giving requires no trust because there is no concern over whether or not you will have enough for yourself in the end, instead it has already been shown to you. Yet, the Lord calls us to give of our firstfruits – those fruits which are the first of the season, the ones which come in before we have knowledge of what we will receive the rest of the growing season.
When our growing season began this year I felt the Lord calling me to give of my first fruits – of beans and tomatoes especially since these are the vegetables we covet the most in storing away within our household. But giving of our firstfruits has not yet ended this season, as soon there will be more first fruits coming – winter squash and potatoes. These firstfruits too we will bring to give away at church to bless those who are unable to garden or for those who had a poor crop of their own this growing season.
But, giving of our firstfruits is not limited to those of us who garden. First fruits can be given from our money, our time, our talents, and our physical ability to work. As it is stated in Proverbs 3 below, we are to honor God with ALL of our increase. This means that anything we see God starting to bud growth within in our lives we are to determine to give the first we see of that growth as a sacrificial means of worship.
As I think about the blessings we have received from our farm, they are just that - blessings. The Lord has given to us abundantly and in turn we have so much overflow we were not only able to bless others with our firstfruits but we also have more fruits at the end of the season to bless even more people. The beauty in this is that not only are those who grow fruits and see blessings come from their own hands rewarded by their faithfulness in trusting in the Lord, but also blessed are those who receive from the work others' hands which the Lord has provided great and overflowing abundance.
“And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, 'Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.'” 2 Chronicles 31:10
God has a way to bring about His promises through His faithful provision and through our willingness to trust in His provision and in receiving those blessings in whatever manner we have been asked to trust and receive them in. In that wonderful reality of kingdom living we find our praise alone goes to the Lord who is the Giver of abundant blessings to those who put all their trust in Him.
Today holds more opportunities to give of what the Lord has first given me. We each have whatever the Lord has set before us to either horde for ourselves or give of freely in trust that He will bring back to us all we shall need and more. May we all be willing to leave our needs in the hands of the Lord and live our lives in a manner that will bring worship to Him through all we do with what we have each been given.
Now to figure out what to do with the 13 day old chicks the kids found in the pasture yesterday! Thank you God for the blessings that abound and overflow our storehouses and even our houses!