Where Your Treasure Is Study #3

David Staff   -  

This week’s Connect Group Study is taken from the devotional reader WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS by Pastor David Staff.  Please read the chapter out-loud together (taking turns reading the paragraphs), and then discuss the questions at the end.  Also, be sure to pray together (p.s. have you been using the Per Diem Prayer – Daily Dose videos on our CCC App? 😊)

MY TREASURE: First Fruits Consistency

Exodus 23, Proverbs 3:9-10, Luke 6:38

From almost four decades of shepherding thousands of God’s saints, I know that most people care deeply about what others think about them.  Most of us want to be thought of well.  Our reputation, our standing in the community, being perceived as a thoughtful, caring person, welcomed and sought out by others – these social, interpersonal markers matter.

So when’s the last time you gave any thought to what God thinks when He thinks about you?   How does He size you up?  Does He smile when you come to mind?  Delight in you as His child?  Is He eager for your company, and anxious that you do well as life unfolds?

Some may respond more negatively to these kinds of questions.  Such a response often comes from those who struggled to secure the approval and joy of their own parents.  Negativity and criticism clouded the atmosphere of the home.  You were simply never “good enough,” even on your best days.

Enough already!  You’re a Christian!!  Born into a new family with a perfect Heavenly Father.  And here is what He thinks of you.  You are a kind of “first fruits” of all that He has created.  James is moved to put it this way:

James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Paul speaks similarly about the believers in Thessalonica.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

John is given a glimpse of those following the Lamb during difficult days of world-wide trouble.


Revelation 14:4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.   These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb.


Again, Paul employs the firstfruits imagery speaking of the primacy of Christ in his resurrection, to encourage the hope of all who would follow him out of death.


1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ


In both Old Testament Scripture and in Hebrew thought, the “first fruits” of the harvest were always considered the best.  Accordingly, the first child born in a family, the first fleece shorn from the sheep, the first of the wine from a vineyard, the first of the oil produced, the first grains from the field, the first crop from the fruit trees – the first of worked for and produced was thought to be primary and special.

Used metaphorically as a descriptor for New Testament era believers, Christians are considered by their heavenly Father to be the first and best among all humanity, a kind of “firstfruits for God and for the Lamb.”

Thus in the precedent originally set by Abel’s offering (cf. Genesis 4:4), Old Testament Law directed that a grateful worshipper bring the first fruits of his labor to the Lord, to express his/her joy and thankfulness.  At the annual Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16), first fruit offerings were presented.  “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God” (Exodus 34:26).  The Levitical priests were to regularly receive firstfruit offerings.  “When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest” (Leviticus 23:10)…”and the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest” (Leviticus 23:20).

Centuries later, as Nehemiah completed the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s protective wall, revived worship included firstfruit offerings – “We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord” (Nehemiah 10:35).

Firstfruits giving was to be a habit of holiness.

It only makes sense to presume that Solomon had this stewardship principle in mind when he offered this wisdom to his sons and daughters:

Proverbs 3:9-10   Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Jesus’ himself echoed a similar promise as recorded by Luke.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”


In his helpful volume Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Randy Alcorn notes what the worshipper was saying through firstfruits giving.

“The giving of firstfruits made an important statement: ‘We give our first and best to you, Lord, because we recognize our responsibility to sustain the spiritual relationship provided for us’…[It] also said, ‘We trust you, God, to help us harvest the rest.’  The nature of firstfruits requires it be ‘taken off the top.’  It’s both the best and the first.  As soon as it’s harvested or received, it’s to be given to the Lord.  It’s not to be stored up, hidden, hoarded, or distributed in any other way.  Those who kept the best and gave God the leftovers brought God’s judgment on Israel.  Giving back to the Lord, what was rightfully his, was a thermometer of faith.”

One can imagine a rural shepherd surveying the scores of newborn lambs grazing on the hillside with the larger flock.  One particular animal catches his eye, perfect in form, brilliant white, the very best of the birthing season.  Another comes into view, alive but sickly, its gate hampered by a limp. Its birthing left some deformity, its value surely less in the marketplace.  Shabbat, and worship, are but days away.  “Which of these shall I bring to the Lord?” he wonders.

But there is no second guessing.  He knows how good God has been to him, his family, his livelihood.  “Jehovah has kept all his promises, and more, to me.”  The words are spoken with conviction as he moves toward the firstborn lamb.  “The first,” he says, “and the best,” as he cradles the animal in his arms.


  1. Do you find the truth that God considers his children a kind of “firstfruits” within the larger spectrum of the human race encouraging? Clothed in the righteousness of His Son, with the Spirit flowing through us, what do you think God expects from we who are, in some sense, “the first and the best”?
  2. What are the heart challenges that accompany whether or not to give the Lord the first and the best?
  3. How does a commitment to firstfruits stewardship express the health of one’s overall relationship with God?