"The Sweetest and Best"
February 15, 2013
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. Proverbs 3:9
In Thai culture it's very important for children and youth to show respect to adults, especially to their parents and grandparents.
Children speak softly and politely to their elders and greet them with the palms of their hands pressed together in front of their chests and with a slight bow. I have noted these Thai children are very dependent upon their parents, even through high school and college. That is, in part, because the parents pay the expenses and provide most of their child's financial support. Very few Thai teenagers get a job to earn their own money.
Completing their education and getting a full-time job is not a sign of independence for young Thais; it's an indication of maturing and becoming a responsible adult. Traditionally, it's also a time for children to show special honor to their parents. When Thai young adults receive their first paycheck, it's very common for them to present it to their parents as a gift of thanks for all their parents have done for them.
In the Old Testament, the people of Israel honored God by offering Him the firstfruits of their harvest as a sign of their thanks to God for His provision. By giving God the firstfruits, they acknowledged all good things come from God and that everything belongs to Him. It was also a way of expressing trust in the Lord.
Just as God provided the firstfruits, so He would supply the rest of the harvest and fulfill the needs of His people.
In a small, rural village in Thailand I had the privilege of sharing in the first fruit that was ever picked from a jackfruit tree.
Although I had enjoyed eating jackfruit many times, this first fruit from the tree was significantly sweeter and more delicious than any I'd eaten previously. This experience helped me realize that when the people of Israel gave God their firstfruits, they were giving Him the best they had.
When God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, He was giving us the sweetest and best that He had. When Jesus rose from the dead, He was the firstfruits of a great harvest that God has planned: the resurrection to eternal life for everyone who belongs to Him (see 1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
All of us who believe in Jesus have the guarantee we will be included in that harvest. What a great gift from God that is!
THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for us and be the firstfruits of Your harvest. You gave us Your best as a free gift. Inspire us by Your Holy Spirit to honor You with our firstfruits, as our offering of thanks for all You do for us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Dennis Denow, who works as a Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod missionary in Thailand and serves as the Asia Pacific Region education consultant. Denow is the husband of LHM-Thailand Director Monta Ekwanit Denow and volunteers to teach English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and occasionally assists with other LHM-Thailand projects. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through the Internet, Gospel text messaging, various community radio programs, Equipping the Saints (ETS) evangelism training and evangelistic outreach programs. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), music CDs, animated VCDs, and print materials are used to encourage and help strengthen the faith of Thai Christians. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in many government schools.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries