BIBLE READING: Deuteronomy 24-27
In the New Testament, Christians are commanded to give on the first day of the week to “…put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper…” (I Corinthians 16.1). The idea is that when we are blessed, the first thing we should do is give back to God a portion of what we have prospered that week. I used the phrase “give back to God” on purpose, because it is He that has given to us in the first place. This is done as a weekly reminder of all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. However, this isn’t just a New Testament command. In Deuteronomy 26, God gives specific instructions for the children of Israel to give back the “first fruits” of all the produce. They were to take these “first fruits” and place them in a basket and carry it to the priest. When the priest takes the offering, they were to answer before the Lord with this “…"And you shall make response before the LORD your God, 'A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.' And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 26:5-10) God’s reasoning for having such a command is the same as it is for us today; to help them remember the things in which God has already blessed them. Another very interesting point to the passage is that after the offering has been placed, the “you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house,” (Deuteronomy 26:11). How often do we give begrudgingly, complaining about why we can’t or just won’t? When the true nature of the command is done in the right way, it doesn’t bring misery, but joy. Let’s make sure we keep the proper frame of mind when we give, so that the true joy and appreciation for what God has done for us, will follow.