For the past several years, our ministry has set aside the 1st part of April as a time to give a sacrificial offering to God to acknowledge Him as the source and sustainer of our lives. This year on April 22nd, we will once again offer our sacrificial seed and declare the blessing of God to rest upon our houses in 2018:
"Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine."
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLV)
A first fruit is a prized representation of a group; a sacrifice; a choice representation; a special seed set aside to honor God and worship Him. The law of first fruits was set forth by God for the Jews. He commanded Israel to bring an offering of the first and best of every animal and crop they produced. If they obeyed, He promised to abundantly bless their future harvest. This first fruit offering was usually given around the spring of each year.
The first fruit offering is given as “honor” to God. It is a demonstration of love for Him and faith toward Him. The first fruit shows that we trust Him as the source of our provision. Nothing pleases God more than when we place our full confidence in Him, not in ourselves or our possessions. Nothing demonstrates our trust in Him, and not money, like sacrificial giving.
The first fruit offering also establishes divine order in our lives. Repeatedly, Scripture tell us to put God first and we will be successful.
God doesn’t ask for all of our time, talent, and treasure; just the first and best of it. When we give to Him our first and best, everything else falls into alignment. We position Him as governor of our lives and position ourselves for abundant
As a church, we have set this year into divine order by beginning it with fasting and prayer. I believe that a sacrificial offering completes the process of establishing God as first so the rest of the year will be blessed. I see this principle in Romans chapter 10. A man named Cornelius gave himself to a period of fasting and prayer, but he coupled it with a sacrificial offering. As a result, God heard his prayers and immediately brought salvation and blessing to his whole household. As a church, we have fasted and prayed, and now is our opportunity to give a special offering.
God desires to release His best into our lives, but we must also be willing to release our best. Our quality of life is directly connected to seeds that we sow. There is undeniable proof of this connection in both the Old and New Testaments:
II Corinthians 9:6-11; Genesis 4:3-4; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10; Mark 12:42-44
I pray that every member of Restoration will choose to join us as we come before the Lord with a sacrificial, first fruit offering on April 22nd. Let’s position ourselves to receive God’s best in 2018.
Pastor Dexter Howard
FAQ’s about First Fruit Offerings
Q. What amount represents my first fruit?
A. The economy of the Old Testament was largely agrarian. Their material substance was mostly crops and livestock. The first fruit was simpler to identify, but still difficult to give. It was the first male, unblemished animal; or the best part of the first crop. Israel was to offer it up to worship God as their source and to demonstrate their faith in Him for their future provision. This honors Him greatly and He promised to excessively bless everything that followed.
A first fruit offering for us today is measured in dollars and cents. You must be led by the Holy Spirit as you discern what this amount is for you. However, here are some guidelines that may help.
A first fruit should be sacrificial, meaning it is an amount that requires you to have to give up something you want or need.
Many people give the equivalent of their wages for one week, day, or month.
What’s most important is that you ask God what you should give and then obey. Have faith!
Q. What’s the difference between the first fruit and the tithe?
A. The tithe is not an offering. God says it belongs to Him and we are commanded to return it to His house (Mal 3:10). It is the “tenth part” or 10% of every dollar you receive. You return the tithe every time you receive income from any source. A first fruit is a one-time offering you give when you come into a new place – New Year, new job, etc. God commands us to give tithes and offerings.
Q. What will the ministry do with the money?
A. After we lift up the offering to the Lord and bless it, we will speak a powerful blessing over each household that gives. The money will be used to advance the ministry initiatives of Restoration worldwide.