July 30 – Blessed to Give Firstly to God

Over a dozen years after Jerusalem’s fall, and while still in exile, Ezekiel received another vision from God.  This new vision was for a new Temple.  Along with many precise details of its measurements and what materials to use, God also explained the duties and the privileges of the faithful Levite priests.  The first of the ripe fruits and all the gifts brought to the Lord will go to the priests. The first samples of each grain harvest and the first of your flour must also be given to the priests so the Lord will bless your homes. 

This blessing from God contained conditions for God’s people.  As a real reminder to them that all blessings come from Him, they were to give the first of their harvest back to the Lord.  In this case the gift was given to the priests who had been set apart to serve God.  Once this was done, God would bless their homes. Ezekiel’s devoted ministry prepared many people to return to the Lord, and to see afresh that He is the Giver of all things good. Centuries after Ezekiel faithfully served, godly leaders continue to teach that the blessings received from God are not to be hoarded but given.

With much prayer and informational build-up, Houston’s First Baptist Church launched an incredible giving opportunity in February 2013 called Mission 1:8.  Funds given would support numerous ministries in our city, country, and world. Russell and I were committed as a couple to embrace the incentive by contributing financially as well as with our service.  But I wanted to give money individually too.  The challenge was that I did not have a job.  So as I prayed, I wrote on my pledge card that my desire was to offer my first paycheck.  What blessing was mine as within a month, I was able to give my “first fruits” check, for God provided me with a wonderful job! He continues to bless our home, our family and the work of our hands.  It is a joy to give back to God and give forward to people.

Ezekiel 44:30 NLT