First Fruits

Strawberries. They are always the first fruit to ripen, juicy, red, and ready to pick in a local berry patch. But while mouthwatering, these are not specifically a “first fruit.”

You know that first strawberry that is perfect, large, bursting with sun-sweetened juice? That’s a first fruit. It is the first part of the harvest that gets ripe, the promise of more to come. Unless, of course, there is a frost that freezes the berries, or it rains for two weeks straight and they mold away to nothing.

The Jews had a feast that focused on bringing the first of the harvest to God’s temple, in a celebration of trust that He would provide the rest of the harvest (Numbers 18, Proverbs 3:9-10). They called it Pentecost.

There are other ways of preparing first fruits as well. George Herbert, a minister, believed that poetry was one of the best ways he could communicate God’s truth to his parishioners. He created a series of poems called,”The Temple”. And the first one is “Dedication:”

Lord, my first fruits present themselves to thee;
Yet not mine neither: for from thee they came,
And must return. Accept of them and me,
And make us strive, who shall sing best thy name.
Turn their eyes hither, who shall make a gain:
Theirs, who shall hurt themselves or me, refrain.

It was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit came on the disciples sitting around waiting for Jesus’ plan to move forward. He had risen, and then left, and what was coming next? The Helper, Comforter, Spirit. Jesus is the first fruits of God redeeming humanity from sin, and the Holy Spirit proves that He will make a full harvest of souls (1 Corinthians 15)! So will we respond in trust and believe that He will do it?

God, thank You for providing for us, and helping us to enjoy the journey with You. Thank You for George Herbert’s poems, and the beauty of these words. Please help Your truth to become more distilled in my life and actions. To Your glory. Amen.

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