I confess to you, the reader, that I have played the “fool” in my own life. I remember as if it were yesterday, coming home from college for Christmas. My mom was cooking breakfast and mentioned something about God to me. I responded: “Mom, I no longer believe in God.” I thought we would embark on some intellectual conversation where I could explain my new found “belief” to her. Instead, my mom responded in a way that I wasn’t prepared for: She began crying and said: “Oh, my son, don’t ever say that again.” That had more impact on me than any intellectual argument could have done.
It took a few years, but when the Lord touched my life while crewing on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean, that seed my mom had planted became a reality for me. I knew God was real and I committed my whole life to Him.
Sadly, I still manage to play the “fool” in my journey with Him. There are so many times I have received wonderful blessings from the Lord and managed to give all the credit to myself. “Look what I accomplished!” Utter nonsense; yet my actions reveal my heart. This can be especially true when it comes to money. I can be like the rich man in Luke 12:16-21, who suddenly found himself with an extra abundance and thought only of his retirement. The abundance he received was from God and God expected him to use it correctly, not hoarding it.
The truth of the matter is that everything we have is a gift from God. When He blesses us, He asks us to bless others. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; So, your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10). Rather than honor the Lord, the rich man decided he could fill his own barns. He was saying in his heart: “There is no God”, not realizing that he would die that very night.
Giving of our first-fruits simply means that we should give something from what God has given us, before we start doing as we want with it. This isn’t some legalistic number that everyone has to give, but it is something that we learn to give from our hearts, whatever that amount might be from what God has given us.
I am tired of playing the fool in my own life. Yet that transition is so very difficult to make. My first thought is “me” and what I will do for me with these blessings. Perhaps the first step is to kneel before the Lord and thank Him for all that He has given me. This being Thanksgiving week, it is a great time to start. After that, the next step would be to ask Him what I should do with it. If you are a work in progress like me, then join with me as we seek to honor the Lord with all that we have and all that we are. With you in the journey…