The “First Fruits” Offering

June 22, 2003

THE “FIRST FRUITS” OFFERING by Ray Pritchard In the book of Leviticus, the children of Israel were instructed to bring a special offering to the Lord at the start of each harvest season. For instance, at the beginning of the wheat harvest, two loaves made from the first bit of ripened wheat were offered to the Lord. Those loaves were a statement of faith–“There’s lots more where this came from.” The offering was called “first fruits” because it represented the first portion of much more to come. And it was also a statement of total consecration of the harvest. “Lord, we offer this first portion to you because we know the entire harvest comes from your hand. We give you the first fruits because it all belongs to you.” This is a wonderful biblical principle that applies to our giving as Christians. When we offer our gifts to the Lord, we are saying that all we have belongs to him, and we believe the Lord will provide for all our needs. Next Sunday, June 29, we have a chance as a congregation to put this principle into action. On Groundbreaking Sunday, we’ll all meet under the big tent in the west parking lot at 10:30 a.m. During the service we’ll take an offering for the renovation program that the church approved in March. We estimate the total cost to be around $2.4 million. Right now we have $850,000 in the Building Fund and approval to borrow up to $1.5 million. Every dollar given next Sunday will go to the renovation campaign. Even if you designate your gift for the General Fund on June 29, it will still go to the Building Fund. We want to use the entire offering next Sunday to jump start the renovation campaign in a big way. Our basic goal is 100% participation in the offering. To that end, we’re asking children, teens and adults to personally participate. We want new attenders and longtime members to take part. We want contemporary service attenders and traditional service attenders to join in. Some people are bringing their loose change jars and their piggy banks. Two weeks ago someone put a diamond ring in the offering. We hope that many people will give generously and sacrificially, and not just a “token” offering. Some of you may be in a position to give the full amount of your intended pledge now. If we all give sooner rather than later, we may not have to borrow as much money and will not spend money on interest that we could spend on ministry. Think of what a testimony it will be to our community when we retire the debt quickly. Between now and next Sunday, ask the Lord to show you what you can and should give. Let’s make it a day where we all joyfully participate in a “first fruits” offering to the Lord.

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