Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Fruits

"Come have strawberries on the patio, Mom. Just us," Sofie said sweetly. It was the first part of spring, and strawberries were now in season. She had waited all winter to enjoy their sweetness once more. The time was now. And though I longed to spend time with my little girl, my mind wandered momentarily to the list of tasks I needed to finish before bedtime.

We were all alone in the house and I was packing for a women's retreat I was to attend that weekend. It was Thursday afternoon, and I was far from ready to go. Car pool. After school activities. Laundry. Cleaning. Packing. The list of things on my "to do" list appeared endless.

I looked into my youngest daughter's honey-brown eyes and heard a whisper in my heart. "First things first," it said. In that quiet moment, I knew what God was saying. Together, we washed up some strawberries and sat together under the bright blue sky on that warm spring day. And the first strawberries of the season gave me a first fruits moment with my beautiful daughter. For, my time given freely to her, was an offering to my Lord as well.

Sofie told me about her day and I listened to her share her heart. She made faces because the berries were tart. She laughed that her hands were sticky because the berries were so juicy. And she delighted me with her special Sofie ways. There in the spring breeze, my daughter's eyes glistened and smiled at me as we took some rare moments together. Just us.

Once more, I was amazed by the wonderful and unique sweetness that my daughter brings into my life. Truly, it was an extraordinary moment that I shall treasure all of my days. For it was more than strawberries on the patio. Rather, it was a first fruits moment, an investment in my daughter, and an offering to the LORD. To think I almost missed it because of my "responsibilities" makes me feel sad and a bit ashamed.

It got me thinking. How many "first fruit moments" have I missed because I was too busy to notice them? The thought convicted me as I considered the foolish distractions I have chased in the form of "things to do". Too many first fruit moments have slipped away because of tasks that can surely wait. Since then, I have made a  determined and purposeful effort to give my family the best of me as a first fruits offering to God.

 Scripture has alot to say about first fruit offerings. "When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest.  On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf". (Leviticus 23:10 NLT) Consider the place where God has placed you and the offering He deserves.

Some view our offerings as purely those related to our finances. But, I would strongly suggest that our offerings to the LORD are much more, and include our time and talents in addition to our cash. Our Heavenly Father, who sacrificed Himself so that we might be called His children deserves nothing less than our very best in every aspect of our lives. The LORD is clear that He wants our best rather than our leftovers. He wants and deserves our first fruits.

 Long ago, I claimed a life verse. "Take your everyday, ordinary life; your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life---and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." (Romans12:1 The Message) I chose this life verse for a reason. It's a reminder to give God the first fruits of my time and my talents in whatever venue He places me. For it is in my ordinary life that I will shine most brightly for my Savior.

God brought me to this family and to this season in my life. Time may change my circumstances, but for today, my platform rests firmly in the ordinary moments that take place within my home. The world has much to say about my identity as a woman. But I must be careful to sift through the lies and schemes of the enemy and fix my eyes on the eternal things of God. I must remember to offer Him my first fruits in the circles of influence in which He has placed me.

Strawberries on the patio with my precious little girl is worthy of my attention, for she is a gift from God. After all, these are not ordinary moments to be squandered, but rather extraordinary opportunities to model the love of Christ within my home and bring glory to God. May my offerings be sweet to the Lord as I cherish the first fruit moments of my life.

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