First Things (Matthew 6:33)
by Minoli Haththotuwa
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First Things (Matthew 6:33)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I was chatting with some young people who were very stressed out with their schedules, and the huge work load they were carrying. They seemed to feel like their working day was out of control, with more demands on their time than they could fit into a normal day. This gave them a lot of anxiety and more stress about how to take care of all the things that needed to be done, that day and in the days after. I felt their distress and need for peace, and as I sought the Lord on their behalf, I heard the Lord say two things: 1) Seek Me first, and 2) First fruits. These are connected, and I believe they are the secret to a healthy day.
1) Seek God first. Jesus said (Matthew 6:33) that when we make the Lord and the things of God our top priority, other things on our agenda or list of needs begin to fall into place. Of course this is not easy to do because of all the things crowding your mind before you have barely woken up. However, in Proverbs 3:5 & 6, we are told: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Today, Daddy God is asking us trust Him with our day and our agenda. He wants us to turn our hearts to Him and focus on His goodness and love as the first thing we do for the day. As we grow and mature in the Lord, we tend to forget some of the basics that made our honeymoon days with Jesus so sweet. As a new believer many years ago, I remember how I would wake up before dawn and run to our study to worship Jesus and spend time in His presence, or how I would wake up in the middle of the night, just to spend some time with Him. He wants to be given the first place in our lives always. He wants us to seek Him and His holiness as our top priority, and as we do this, the challenges of our lives will be shaped in a much better way than anything we could have done and every commitment fitted into the available time with some left to give thanks to the One who holds our days in His mighty hands!
2) First Fruits and firm foundations. The Principle of First Fruits can be found in Leviticus 23:10 & 11: “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: “When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf.” The principle of First Fruits is powerful and very relevant to us even today. It is another way our Father found to release great blessing into our lives. In Old Testament times, people were expected to choose the first ripe fruits from the beginning of their harvest and take them to the house of the Lord. (They were for the priest). Like with tithing (giving God a tenth of our income), the first fruits offering secured the health and blessing of the rest of the harvest. In Proverbs 3:9 we read “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of your increase, so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Friend, the same principle applies to your time! Freely offer the Lord the first slice of your day and He will bless and prosper the rest of it, and shield your time from the devourer who tries to eat up your time. Romans 11:16 say: “For if the first fruit is holy, the whole is also holy.” God blesses your whole day. In Malachi 3:11 where God speaks about the tithe, He says “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field says the Lord of hosts, and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land.” If you have never been a person who prayed and worshipped God first thing in the morning, this might pose a slight challenge to you in terms of time, but you could start with 10 or 15 minutes of worship and the Word, acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus over your life, and giving Him the first (and highest) place in your day. This is the First Fruits offering of your time, and it could make a world of a difference to how your day progresses, and how you will feel at the end of it. I always turn my heart to Jesus the moment I wake up in the morning, and consciously think or voice out some praise to Him, or verses from His Word. I believe this sets the flavor of my whole day. If your mornings are much too rushed and it is not possible to wake up a few minutes earlier than you presently do, you could start this way, and give at least your first few seconds exclusively to Jesus! Applying the principle of First Fruits to your day is a way to lay a firm foundation which will impact it for the better and make it productive because it is blessed!
Dear friend, Abba God cares about us and wants to see us victorious in all aspects of our lives. He has made clear to us what we can do to overcome the numerous challenges we seem to see crowded into each day. He is calling us to offer Him the first fruits of our day/week/month, so that He can bless the rest of it too and make it all good! He is calling us to trust Him and to be released from worry and anxiety, not just for that day but for the next day, and all the days of our lives.
I pray these thoughts will bless you and make a difference to your life always, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 11 August 2012
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