THE FIRST FRUITS
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10
God promises to bless the person who honors the Lord by giving Him the first part of his income. Obviously, money plays an important role in all of our lives. It may be that there is no subject that causes more grief in some people’s lives than the subject of finances. It is one of the primary causes of conflict in marriages. Although some people would prefer that it not be addressed in church, the Bible has much to say about the subject. Jesus taught many times about the importance of our personal management and financial stewardship. Although tithing is taught in the Old Testament law, it was practiced before the law was given. It predates the law and was commended by Jesus in the New Testament. Tithe means “a tenth,” and refers to giving the first tenth of our income to God. This tithing should be to our home church, where we are members and serve. This is a part of our worship and obedience. We are to “honour the LORD with thy substance.”
Our possessions are given to us by God, that we might honor Him and use them for His glory. Giving the first part of our income to God recognizes His lordship and ownership. Everything we have belongs to God and is ours to manage for His glory. The “firstfruits of all thine increase” should be given to the Lord. Our increase would be our income or the resources that God brings into our possession.
Malachi teaches that disobeying God in the area of tithing will bring His chastisement, while obeying will bring God’s blessings in several ways. He promised to open the windows of Heaven and rebuke the devourer. Our giving to God also allows us to be direct participants in His work and to be rewarded accordingly, as we faithfully tithe to our church. Tithing should be a commitment and priority for every believer and every family. It is a matter of obedience. To withhold our tithe is to disobey the Lord. Also, it is a matter of faith. As we obey the Lord, we are trusting Him as our source. God wants us to rely upon Him for our needs. It is a sign of unbelief if we do not think God can meet our needs when we honor the Lord by giving Him the firstfruits. God can be trusted. When we put Him first in our stewardship, He promises to bless our obedience.