Faith

Firstfruits of All Your Crops

{This post has been sitting in me for a number of years. It’s heavy with scripture, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m just making things up to suit my purposes. I encourage you to do your own study as well. I’m aware that my argument/words may be against what is commonly taught in churches, but God is my true teacher and I’m delivering the Word as I believe and practice it. (John 7:16-17) Be blessed.}

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9-10

wealth –noun

  1. a great quantity or store of money, valuable possessions, property, or other riches
  2. an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount
  3. rich or valuable contents or produce
  4. the state of being rich; prosperity; affluence

Tithing Truths

Some of you may not like this, but here we go: I’m not a financial tither. However, I am a financial giver in addition to being a giver in other areas. According to some of the rhetoric taught in churches today, I should be damned with a curse (Malachi 3:10) — for they say the only way to really worship God is with money. That has never made sense to me. And the more I study, the more outrageous of a lie it appears.

The scriptures I rely upon for my viewpoint are listed below.

Ironically, I’ll start with Malachi 3:8-11

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:10 is usually quoted to support a monetary tithe. However, Malichi 3:10 reads to me as a promise of a blessing God was sending His people in the form of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:1-4, we learn He fulfilled His promise:

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (NLT)

And Romans 5:5 tells us:

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (NLT)

But more importantly, I enjoy listening to Jesus. He was asked a question regarding government taxes, yet replied with an answer on how to give to God.

“Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  ~ Mark 12:15-17 (NIV)

What belongs to God? Everything in heaven and on the earth (Psalm 24:1). Specifically, people belong to God. All that being said, John 4:23-24 is the verse I’m hanging my practice on.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

To get this fully, you have to have an understanding of something else: 1) the Old Testament is a shadow of things to come — it provides physical illustrations and examples; 2)The New Testament is the revelation millennia of generations were waiting for; 3) you need to appreciate and be open to the fruit of the spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

As long as I walk in His Word and obey His commands, there is no law against me. I tell you truthfully, my life has prospered with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The more I practice each portion of the fruit of the spirit, the more I increase in this life and in my spirit life.

How do I practice? I practice by loving God first and honoring him by loving his people. I give of myself, my resources, my gifts and my talents. I do what I can for others when asked and when I simply see a need. The more I increase spiritually, the more I am able to sow spiritual fruit into other peoples’ lives. My pet name for this act is spiritual tithing, but the simple scriptural word is give (to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation). That’s what I believe we are intended to do in order to benefit the kingdom. Money doesn’t benefit the Kingdom of God. Money is man-made, it is not a medium of worship. In Romans 12:1, we are told to give our bodies as a living sacrifice as a act of worship to God.

I am not telling you not to give to your church! Again, giving is scriptural. I give financial gifts to my church, I just don’t consider it a tithe. I am simply saying that monetary tithing is not something that increases you in the Kingdom. Ask yourself, “How is the Kingdom increased by my money?” God’s spiritual kingdom, not your physical church.

However, when you love others, share your joy, spread peace, are patient, kind and good the people on the receiving end usually can’t help but to reciprocate. Such behavior starts a chain of sorts. Sooner or later, someone is going to ask you about your faith, your beliefs, the God you serve and the church you attend. At that point you know you may have won a soul for Christ, however the work was done long before you spoke a word, you simply watered and nurtured what was in them. That’s how we benefit the Kingdom – by giving back to God the fruit He has increased our lives with.

Ultimately, however, rather you agree or not, as long as you act according to your beliefs and understanding and do what you do as to God, you remain in right standing with the LORD (Romans 14:1-8). I’m not here to judge your practices; I’m here to share what I’ve learned.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.  ~ Galatians 5:1

Firstfruit

God’s greatest blessing to us is not money, a house, a car, a job, a spouse or children. God’s greatest gift to his children is the gift of Jesus Christ. You know the verse: He so LOVED us that He GAVE His only Son (John 3:16). God gave of Himself. He continues to give the best of Himself in the form of His Holy Spirit.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits (the first of a great harvest) of those who have fallen asleep (died).  ~1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV

We are God’s crop and Jesus is His Firstfruit. How are you furthering the Kingdom? What’s your crop?

crop –noun

1. the cultivated produce of the ground, while growing or when gathered

2. the yield of such produce for a particular season

3. the yield of some other product in a season

—Synonyms
1. Crop, harvest, yield refer to the return in food obtained from land at the end of a season of growth. Crop denotes the amount produced at one cutting or for one particular season. Harvest denotes either the time of reaping and gathering, or the gathering, or that which is gathered. Yield emphasizes what is given by the land in return for expenditure of time and labor.

What are you yielding?

I love the New Living Translation version of the Sower Parable in Luke 8:5-8. Jesus Christ is speaking:

“A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

The Disciples asked Jesus what He meant and He told them they were permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. Then He explained His parable:

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.  ~ Luke 8:11-15, NLT

I accept my commission. I am good, fertile soil that is patiently producing a huge harvest for God. In order for God’s harvest in me to increase, I must multiply what is planted in me. Therefore I too, become a farmer, planting seed (God’s Word) into others (for example, you and others I come in contact with). I’m tithing myself. I’m giving the best of my spirit to others.

What’s your crop? After your season of growth, how are you getting your harvest to market? My way is my writing. When I gave my talent over completely to the service of God’s Kingdom, my life increased and prospered in ways I can’t adequately convey to you. Every time I learn something in this process, I share it with you. I don’t keep it to myself, hide it or bury it. I shine a light on it and offer it to you as a seed to plant in your own life. The most significant offering I can make to God’s Kingdom is giving of myself openly, fully, and honestly. In so doing, I am sharing the Christ in me.

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.  ~ Philemon 1:6-7

May God bless and prosper you in His ways.

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12 replies »

  1. I do agree with all of the concepts you’ve offered
    in your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly
    work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. May you
    please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thank you
    for the post.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Spirit Harvest and commented:

    Reflect: Jesus said to them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to receive his glory.  I tell you the truth, a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed. Those who love their lives will lose them, but those who hate their lives in this world will keep true life forever. Whoever serves me must follow me. Then my servant will be with me everywhere I am. My Father will honor anyone who serves me.
     “Now I am very troubled. Should I say, ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, I came to this time so I could suffer. Father, bring glory to your name!”
    Then a voice came from heaven, “I have brought glory to it, and I will do it again.” ~ John 12:23-28

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  3. Thank you, David! I agree with your summary. It’s sickening to me as well. I can’t understand how so many Christians are so far off the mark when they profess to live by a book (Bible) with detailed instructions on what to do and how to live. But I have to remind myself that not everyone has the ears to hear, nor have they dedicated their hearts to seeking God. They choose instead to follow a person in a pulpit and take his/her word as The Word while neglecting to study for themselves.

    May God bless you and strengthen you in your walk!

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  4. I tell you, churches like to preach that the love of money is sinful (which it is) but then they command we give all our money to the church, so the pastor thinks that his church is blessed financially because “GOD” has blessed it, so they build a bigger building to hold more people, in order to ask for more money….. funny thing, Jesus never specifically asked for our money, and the money he DID collect went to the POOR… not in the preacher’s pocket…. cant tell you how many times my church has asked for extravagant amounts of money, and if you did not participate, you were ostracized, even though they claimed it was your decison…. sickening really… and they wonder why the world does not want Jesus… thanks for posting this… it was a good read!

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  5. Hi, A nice article, I must say this is really nicely written, this place definitely needs posters like you. Filling the forum with some good tips and information, I did follow A couple of your posts, they been relevant and good points were elaborated. I must say we should always be prepared to post in our best knowledge to aid people. Really appreciate your site.

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