Ode to the First Fruits
This year I talked my parents into having a garden in their backyard. I really wanted to have one in my backyard but since my yard is barely the size of a postage stamp and my husband won't let me mess up his sod, I moved on to convincing my parents to let me use part of their land for a garden.
As I walked through the rows of tomatoes, peas and zucchini at the end of the summer, gathering up the final harvests and making plans for freezing and canning the excess, I began to think about those first few squash and tomatoes we harvested. I was so excited to show my kids what came from our hard work (they helped plant and weed too!), but most of all I wanted to taste the fresh-from-the-garden veggies. There's just something better about the taste of vegetables fresh from the garden.
By the end of the summer, we'd honestly eaten all the squash and zucchini we could digest and the tomato plants were producing more fruit than we could eat before it ruined. We gave bags of produce away just to keep it from ruining before we ate it.
I started to think about God's call to us to give Him our first fruits and I suddenly understood on another level. We freely gave away vegetables by the end of the summer, but I'd have a hard time giving away those first fresh squash and tomatoes and peas. I'd worked and waited for months to see that harvest. I wanted to taste it.
Our time and income and attention are the same first fruits to God. We freely give whatever is "left over" to anyone who has a need, but only after we've had our fill. God doesn't want the end-of-the-harvest produce. He wants the first few pieces off the vine. And who could blame Him, they really do taste the sweetest.