Paul says, “if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
The principle of the first fruit originated with the Hebrew word Bikkurim. When you read in Nehemiah when he says “we obligate ourselves to bring the first fruit…” or anywhere in the old testament when it says “bring the first fruit,” the word is bikkirum.
Bring the bikkirum.
The bikkurim is the part of the harvest that ripened and came forth before the rest of the harvest did.
The part that ripened and came forth first… God said, that part is mine! and this is an absolutely fascinating fact about Jewish history.
What they would do in those days, is the farmer would notice that a branch would have the bikkurim on it, and he already knew the principle of the first fruit, he already knew “this part is for God” so what would happen is he would take a little scarlet ribbon and he would walk up to the branch that had the fruit on it, and he would tie this scarlet ribbon on the branch as to say “THIS IS FOR THE LORD.”
He was marking it. He was setting it apart. He was saying, “God we give you the first.” He was asking the Lord to bless it. That is why we gave you the little red ribbons this week when you walked in… You can keep it as a token to remember, or you can take it and wrap your offering or offering envelope in it if you are giving a physical offering.
But the bikkirum was the first. It wasn’t just any piece of fruit… a good batch or a bad batch. It was was came first.
it had to be the first! It was the part that came before the harvest…
The farmer didn’t know whether the harvest was going to be large or if much of the fruit would not survive. All he knew for sure was that he the bikkurim. The only certainty was the bikkurim.
He didn’t give out of poverty or out of lack, he gave out of not knowing what it would be,
he gave it out of uncertainty.
He gave the only thing that was certain, out of uncertainty.
Fear is an incredibly motivating factor in our world right now, and I have watched over the last several months especially, how fear has actually dictated the way that people treat one another. The way that they accept one another and welcome one another.
The bible has a lot to say about fear, because the reality is, nothing can possibly keep you from being what you are supposed to be in Christ, and nothing can possibly keep you from loving people the way you are supposed to love them in Christ, and nothing can possibly keep you from doing the thing which God has put on your heart to accomplish, more than fear. It has infected my brain in the deepest ways, has already caused some of my vision to flutter, it has gotten in the way of my love.
And if there is one thing that I am determined to do differently as your Pastor here at Courage Church this year, it is this, I am not going to let fear have a voice at the table. I am not going to let fear stop me from trying anything. I would rather strike out swinging, than by watching a home run pitch fly by me while I stand idle, knowing that was the one that had the potential to go over the fence. That had the potential to be the home run.
And I would encourage you to join me this year as you set your goals and you pray about your dreams and the God sized vision for your life, to believe that in Christ, we can do anything.
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