Parashat Ki Tavo (When You Come)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:1–29:8
God was very clear in His instructions to Israel upon their arrival to the Land of inheritance:
Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you inherit it and live in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.
The first thing that the people of Israel were to do upon arrival was to give God from the first of all the produce of the ground. Not only that, they were also to bring it to the place of the LORD’S choosing. The “first” of anything is the best and the freshest! God’s requirement was for the people of Israel to give their very best in the manner that He had instructed.
That made me think about whether I’m giving God the very best in my life. I had to ask myself “Does He get the first fruits, or the leftovers?” Giving Him our best requires faith, trust, sacrifice, and honor. Giving from the first fruit of the ground means that after you labored, waited, cared for, and harvested, you acknowledge that what you labored for was for God and not for you; what you waited for was for God, what you cared for was God’s and that which you harvested was from God and for God. It’s a complete exercise of trust to give Him the very best — the first fruits — of ourselves!
God gave me His very best; the Father gave me His son that through Him I can be reconciled to the Father and be brought back into relationship with Him. The Son gave me His very best by giving His own life for me so that I could be reconciled to the Father and be brought back into relationship with Him. When we think about it this way, we gain a different perspective!
Is it really so hard to give him my best? Often times as His followers, we go to the financial offering and even then we make calculations of gross income vs net income, forgetting that it is all from Him and all for Him anyway. We look at our own comfort versus His calling! But giving Him our best goes beyond our finances. Are we giving Him our very best in every area of our life — our time, talents, spiritual gifts, etc.? What are we filling our lives with? What is the central focus of our lives?
On a recent trip to Uganda, I had the great privilege to speak at a local congregation there. It was an amazing experience altogether, but what touched me deeply was the offering. The people joyfully gave their best, with dancing and singing; some gave money, some brought bags full of fruit, and one young man even brought a sugar cane. I was so touched to see how each brought God his or her best from the little that they had.
He gave you His very best… Are you giving Him yours?