Summary: We build a "Life of Stewardship" in the offering of "Firstfruits", when we:1) Use God’s gift to His fullest Expectations. (Deuteronomy 26:1), 2) Return to God the first of everything He has given you (Deuteronomy 26:2-4), 3) Share the story of God’s goodn

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to walk a fine line in (this week`s) G8 summit talks on the Middle East, upholding Ottawa’s strong support for Israel while respecting President Obama’s recent call for talks based on pre-war 1967 borders, and resisting Europe’s determination to pressure the Israeli government. According to reports, the Canadian delegation worked hard to keep the summit declaration from making specific mention of the 1967 borders. Mr. Harper argued that if Mr. Obama’s speech was to be used as a benchmark, the statement had to reflect his calls for concessions on both sides, not just from Israel. (

As Israel prepared to enter the Promised land following their exodus from Egypt, Deuteronomy 26:1-11 referred to the offering of a part of the first crops grown after the Israelites have settled in the land of Canaan. This first share belonged to God (18:4; see also Exo 22:28; 23:19; 34:26; Lev 2:12, 14; 23:10–17), as did also the first-born male of the domestic animals (Exo 13:11–15). The produce was taken to the central sanctuary (verse 2) and given to the priest, who set it down in front of the altar (verses 3–4). This offering was accompanied by the recital of a confession and the promise to obey God’s laws (verses 5–10).

For those who have much, there are many responsibilities. We become stewards of the many resources under our care. The concept of stewardship is a doctrine of responsibility and celebration. Although we are responsible for all the resources under our care, such responsibility is not to be one of burdensome work, but one of a proper celebration. God expects that we joyously offer unto Him the first of our time, talent and treasure as a "Firstfruits" our lives.

We build a "Life of Stewardship" in the offering of "Firstfruits", when we:

1) Use God’s gift to His fullest Expectations. (Deuteronomy 26:1)

Deuteronomy 26:1 [26:1]"When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, (ESV)

Israel was expected to “come into the land … possess it and dwell in it” (v. 1). God’s promise to Abraham was a land for his descendants. Up to this time the land had not been taken. It had been promised, but not possessed. It had been spied out, but not seized. The people stood between the promise of God and its fulfillment. Notice the progression of the phrases. They were to arrive at the land, strive for it, and live in it. That they should live in it: this refers to a time when the Israelites have settled down and have had time to grow their first crops. Until that happened, they would be living below their potential.

• God’s gift to each of us is our potential. Our gift to Him is what we do with that potential. The chief way that you and I can be disloyal to God is to make small what He intended to make large. One way we glorify God is to fulfill the expectations of the God who created us. To do so is to concretely express our gratitude to God for His blessing.

Illustration: Expections

Sohio, the Alaskan subsidiary of Standard Oil of Ohio, drilled a well in the Beaufort Sea in 1983, hoping to tap a geological formation holding several billion barrels of oil. Instead, they hit water, and $120 million went a glimmering. The oil companies know the risk. They drill only after extensive soil samples and aerial photos offer substantial possibilities of success. Yet despite the precautions, geological formations that promise to break all records for oil or gas deposits break the bank instead. Such risks are considered acceptable, however, as a strike like the one contemplated would have repaid the investment many times over.

God has built energies, talents, and giftedness into every generation of Christians, in order that Christ’s mission can successfully be implemented. But does the will and personal commitment exist to do it? If we would invest energy, time, and expertise (with courage like) oil companies, (what would God accomplish with such daring and faithful followers?) (Hurley, V. (2000). Speaker’s sourcebook of new illustrations (electronic ed.) (69–70). Dallas: Word Publishers.)

We build a "Life of Stewardship" in the offering of "Firstfruits", when we:

2) Return to God the first of everything He has given you (Deuteronomy 26:2-4)

Deuteronomy 26:2-4 [2]you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. [3]And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ’I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ [4]Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. (ESV)

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