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But First…

December 5, 2010

“But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (everything else – emphasis mine) will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.

My life gets very crowded. The onset of school for our kids is great in some respects, but it also means that we, as a family we quickly become “logistically challenged” with kids & adult activities, as I like to say…football practices 3x per week, dance 2 to 3 times per week, now cheerleading – practice and for games, church, small groups, work, games, meetings…and repeat. Can you relate? We just have two kids and it’s a crazy schedule – but we don’t hold a candle to some.

A number of months ago, I had a bit of a revelation – where some things came together as the Lord illuminated them for me. I’ve been contemplating them since, and trying to weave this in the fabric of my life better…this idea of first fruits & daily bread.

First Fruits – tithing, yes. It’s an act of worship and a recognition to THE Provider…a thank you. It is by no means a formula (If I give to Him, then He takes care of me – or whatever), but it is not coincidental that when I put Him first in that area of my life, my monthly dollar seems to stretch or I see Him work in other cool ways…because I’m more open to it. It’s no longer a “have to” but a “get to” for me, by the grace of God.

Then I thought, “What do I seem to have the least of?” Ah yes. Time. Thinking about offerings again, I gather thant the first fruit of my day is my time…my daily offering to the Lord could be considered my time that I spend with Him, right out of the chute. I have noticed that when ever I try to just throw in some quiet time with Him sometime else during the day, it doesn’t seem to get done. Life happens and the tyranny of the urgent overtakes my time.

As I’m reading in Proverbs & Psalms and in other places where the Lord describes Himself, I can see that all wisdom, knowledge, discernment come from Him. As the father of a teenager, one of the primary things I seem to be in REAL short supply of is…all of the above (all I know is what NOT to do, since I tried all those things myself as a teen :-)). In John 15, Jesus describes Himself as the Vine and we are the branches. As a branch, I cannot produce fruit by myself. I have to live as an attached branch or I wither and die!

Then, I read in Exodus 16:18-21 where God provided daily manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness – for 40 years. Read it, but here’s the Cliffy Notes:
* Whoever gather excess – didn’t gather too much.
* Whoever gather little – didn’t lack anything
* When the sun got hot, it melted on the ground – so they had to gather early in the cool of the morning
* If they tried to keep some for the next day, it got wormy and foul.
The reason the Lord did this – in my opinion – was to breed a day to day dependence on Him.

Muuuuch later, Jesus, after feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish (actually, I’ve heard it said that 5,000 was just the count of the men, but in reality there were more like 30,000 fed if you count women & children – either way…WOW.), He says “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)

So…meshing these together: If I don’t go to the Lord Jesus each day to receive the “bread of life” (Jesus Himself), the bread of yesterday/last week/when I was twelve…is “wormy and foul”. To be clear – I have to go to Christ and receive Him as my Lord and Savior ONE TIME (one and done) for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. A one time action, with lasting results. However, for growth and the ongoing “renewing of my mind”, I need to go to Him on a day by day, moment by moment basis – as He is my Provider…of everything. Again, I think, this is to breed a day to day dependence on Him. I am slowly getting that now.

Hence the phrase, “Fresh Bread, Baked Daily” is a good reminder for me. He’s serving it up – would you like a free sample today?

(Re-posted from August 2009 Facebook Notes)

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