A fellow adoptive mom talked with me yesterday. She is running a big community sale to raise funds for their adoption. She called to ask my opinion on some feelings she was having. She felt angry and then guilty that she felt angry towards these people who were donating. I asked why?
She had put out a request for gently used items to sell in the sale. Things people no longer wanted or needed but still had value. Most people did just that. In fact, she had some beautiful items donated. Other items upset her greatly. A puzzle missing several pieces, a shirt with stains and holes, broken toys, very old computer monitors and shoes with the leather coming off. Things that she couldn’t possibly sell and having spent her time going to pick them up, now had to take more time to dispose of them. I simply said, this happens all of the time because people have forgotten the command of First Fruits.
Early on in the Bible Yahweh teaches First Fruits. Giving your best TO Him. Giving your best FOR Him. In fact, the teaching begins in Genesis 4 with the famous Cain and Abel story and their gifts/sacrifices. Abel gave his best, Cain did not. Not giving his best opened the door to a path of destruction for Cain. There is much to that story that I would like to talk about however this blog post is about the gift, or sacrifice.
Later on in the Bible, when Yahweh puts His laws to paper (or tablets of stone) He set down 7 annual feasts for the Israelites to keep. One of those 7 is the Feast of First Fruits. This is where all Israel gave the best. It was important to Him that His people know to always give their best. To set the example to everyone around them to always give their best. Several thousand years later the Messiah showed us all what First Fruits is really all about when He gave His Best, His All.
When we give to a “cause” we are giving to Yahweh. We are following the example of the Messiah. When we help an adoptive mommy or donate to the local Salvation Army we are doing it for Him. That doesn’t mean we have to give brand new clothing, but clothing with use still in it and not trash is the right thing to do.
I remember back before really thinking about this command to when our local church was doing a food drive. I went through my pantry pulling out things we would not eat. Looking back I am ashamed. I did not give my best. I gave what I no longer wanted. My cast offs. That’s what I was giving to Yahweh. UGH! How He must have shaken His glorious head at my selfishness.
Not long ago a friend was putting together boxes for Orphans. She said for many years she just put whatever in the box, not thinking. Then one year she was shopping for cheap stuff at the dollar store with her daughter and her daughter asked for something. She said, honey we don’t shop here for you, these are just for the boxes. Then she realized what she said. From that moment on she bought things for the boxes that she would buy for her own children. First Fruits.
Recently Katherine was collecting gloves and mittens for a drive at school. Without telling me she went through the big tub we have and pulled out a bunch of mismatched items. Thankfully she asked me what I thought before taking them to school. I was able to teach this lesson on First Fruits and then ask her what she thought. She said, “Mom, these need to go in the trash. Can you take me to the store to buy some. I will use my own money.” Hopefully she will always remember this important lesson to give her best and do her best.
To my friend who was upset I simply said, “I understand your anger and frustration. Forgive them because they simply don’t understand the command of First Fruits.” Pray that Yahweh helps them to understand it. (or maybe forward them this blog post – ha ha!)
For myself when asked to give I keep this command in mind. Does what I’m giving have value or not? Real value? Value to Yahweh? If not, it belongs in my trash.
And that is….Simply My Opinion!