Deuteronomy 26: 1–11
1 When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 3 You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lordyour God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’ 4 When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, 5 you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. 6 When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, 7 we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; 9 and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’ You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. 11 Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.
Sometimes reading ideas for life which were written 27 centuries ago can be a challenge! What does it mean today, to offer our ‘first fruits’ to God?
Whatever stage of life you’re at, there are things you do, that you could offer the best of, to God. Being loved by God prompts us to share our time and gifts with others – that’s what builds community. This is ‘radical love’, which goes beyond being polite or obliging and it isn’t always easy to do. So, how to make a start?
Reflect on what fills your days. Do your activities reflect who God is calling you to be?
Take a moment to think of the things that matter to you, and make a list like the image above, thanking God for those things. There will probably be ordinary activities of life, your family, special places or interests you love! How could you combine those things with radical love in action; taking the gifts God has given you out into your community?
When you’re picking up your shopping could you share some with a food-bank, or give an elderly neighbour a regular lift? Does someone at school or work need a chat this week. . . and if that someone is you, would sharing your difficulty build a supportive friendship into the future?
Dear Lord, as I look at the things of my life, listed on a page, I thank you for your generosity and care of me.
Knowing that you love me, and that the details of my life matter to you, gives me a sense of worth and purpose. I see that I can find strength in you, to face the challenges that come, as part of life.
As I lay my life before you, show me where I can respond with love to others, in the way that you love me.
As I walk the streets of my neighbourhood today, and look into the faces I pass, may love fill my heart, and move me to a word, or an action.