Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits from your entire harvest. (Proverbs 3:9–EHV)
The last few weeks we have been taking a look at Stewardship. Again, stewardship is how we use the earthly gifts that God has given us. After all, everything belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1), who gives it to us as a gracious gift of his love (James 1:17). We are therefore, stewards, or caretakers or managers of all that we have. We talk about stewardship of time, of gifts and abilities, of our bodies, of this world, and of money. Today for our devotion we take a look at our use of the treasures that God gives us.
In the passage above, Solomon urges us to honor the Lord with our wealth. How do we honor the Lord with our wealth? First off, by giving him credit and glory for blessing us with wealth—including the gifts and abilities to get a job, health to keep a job, and a strong economy with a strong job market. But we also honor the Lord with our wealth by giving generously back to him—just as he gives generously to us.
Solomon urges us to honor the Lord with our firstfruits. What exactly are firstfuits? Firstfruits are the first fruits of each harvest. This is something that farmers and gardeners wait all year for. They work hard, they tend, the weed, they water, and so on. The first fruits that are ripe and ready to harvest are important—and it’s an exciting time. At times, the firstfruits is all you get—plants get a disease, a drought occurs, or an early frost hits. If such a disaster would strike, the people would be without much food.
And God expected that the firstfruits would be given to him. What does this indicate? First off, it shows us that God wants us to give first to him—before we give to ourselves to pay our bills, save for retirement, or help out the poor or needy, he wants us to give first to him. It also indicates trust—faith in the Lord that he will continue to provide for us. Giving first to the Lord is putting our trust in the Lord that we will have enough to give to provide for ourselves and to take care of our needs. Also understood with the idea of firstfruits—is that idea of giving the Lord our best, not simply what is left over.
Through the prophet Malachi, the Lord asks us to test him in this—he wants us to give to him our best generously to him; and when we do we’ll see how richly he blesses us in return (Malachi 3:10). Not that this is our motivation for giving to the Lord, rather we give our first and our best to him because he humbled himself to the point of death so that we might enjoy the glories and riches of heaven forever (2 Corinthians 8:9). We have the priceless gift of salvation—the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. For this reason, we willfully and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7) honor the Lord by giving him our firstfruits.
Pastor Andrew Frey
On Sunday mornings Pastor Frey has been leading us through a study on "The Lord's Supper." We will see what God's Word has to say about the Lord's Supper and we will see the many blessings God gives to us through this sacrament.
On Monday’s at 8:00 am and Tuesday evenings at 5:30 pm Pastor Gartner is leading a study of God’s Word under the theme: “What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?” The same class is offered on either Monday or Tuesday. Have you ever had questions about some of the main differences between all the Christian churches or maybe just have wondered how come we there are so many different types of Christian churches? If so, please come and join us as we explore what God’s Word has to say about some very key teachings that the devil is trying to distort.
NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner. We also have the audio file of Pastor Steven Prahl's Bible Class from this past Mission Festival Sunday.
Quarterly Voter's Meeting
Last night we held our quarterly Voters’ Meeting. Among other things, elections were held. Three new council members were elected and will begin serving in an official capacity in January. The three men are:
Andy Pevonka—Chairman of the Board of Evangelism
Brian Biettler—Head of the Board of Trustees
Randy Rickert—Vice President
Minutes from this meeting will soon be available in the narthex. For more information, please read the minutes or talk to any of the council members or pastors.
Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time ends in the morning of November 3rd. Remember to set your clocks back an hour Saturday night and get an extra hour of sleep.
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus
We have two options in the Fox Valley to listen to the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus in November. On Saturday, November 2nd at 7:00 the chorus will sing at St. John in Wrightstown as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations. The next morning, Sunday November 3rd, the chorus will be at Riverview in Appleton at 8:00am and 10:30am as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations.