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S (Scripture): Exodus 23:19
19 “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God.
O (Observation): God asks us to give back the first fruits, acknowledging not only that everything comes from God but the very best we have is from God as well.
A (Application): First fruits giving is not the norm. First fruits giving is setting aside the offerings and tithes (10%) to God first. In other words, if you make $100 before doing anything with that money you set aside $10 and give it to the Lord. We do this in recognition that all that we have been given comes from God and God is the first of our attentions in time, talent and resources. In the same way, we do not withhold the very best that we have been given from God....giving God the leftovers.
When I was younger (and more foolish) in an attempt to strengthen my relationship with God, I decided to give Sunday morning the same that I spent on drinking at the bar the night before. Not the most mature decision but it was, as I said, an attempt.
In recent years, my giving practices have matured. God has moved me to offer my best harvest back to God. Instead of God getting my leftovers I offer my very best in singing in worship, my very best in time (diligent in reading Scripture, prayer everyday), and giving the best of my resources. It is not in accomplishing these things that I get gold stars (as if they are earned) but in enjoying the intimacy I feel in excavating a time with God.....first.
P (Prayer): Hey God, thanks for all that you give us. Help us to be mindful of everything we have as a gift from you, and that you might move us in deeper intimacy to offer back the very best that you have given us.