“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.
“And you shall make response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.” Deuteronomy 26:1-11
First of all, bring the first of all. When you enter the land, when you harvest your fruit, put it in a basket and take it to the Lord. Declare His faithfulness. Declare His favor and fulfillment of promise. Declare His presence and blessing and bounty. Moses gives this instruction to tangibly remind Israel who and where they were, and all that God had done for them. ‘Carry this attitude of gratitude and practice of offering into your new land, people, and do not forget it.’
We may not often enter a new physical land, but we can, in the course of our days, come into an inheritance of new work, a new home, a promotion or success, a specific healing, or a repaired relationship. Do these cause only exhilaration, relief, or greedy smugness? Or do we immediately pile the bounty in our hands and offer it up in thanksgiving to the God who enabled its procurement?
Every gift to us is a reminder of God’s goodness and care, and should cause us to make a response to His benevolent initiative by acknowledging His mighty hand and great deeds. What will it take for us to use the start of all our days to set before Him our first and best, to honor His generosity, and to rejoice?
Good Father, you have given so much. I ask one thing more, that my heart would be bountiful toward you in the thanksgiving and praise and sacrifice that you deserve.