A couple of weeks ago, the Scripture text we were considering, Proverbs 3:9-10, mentioned “firstfruits”. I made the comment that this is a word we don’t normally use in our daily conversation. Although I heard that there was one person who challenged this, mentioning the frequent use of “firstfruits” at her Christian school, for the most part I think the congregation agreed with this comment. But now I am using it more frequently – the strawberries are ripe at this point and we just had the first ones. And so out the word came, “the firstfruits”! It was exciting to say the word and eat the fruit! We look forward to the abundance of strawberries that usually follow the first pint. Maybe you have used the word “firstfruits” since hearing that sermon to describe something that you have received and enjoyed in your life … Firstrfruits redux – bringing back the word!
Now I doubt this little redux will have staying power. The word may soon leave our vocabularies and head back to the pages of Scripture. So before it does, I want to remind you of some of the great blessings we have as those who serve Jesus, “the firstfruits” of the resurrection! Jesus was first – the resurrection is a guarantee now for all who belong to Him because we are united to Him. He is the first of many who will rise from the grave. But it is really the “many” piece that ought to excite us. Jesus once told a parable of a man who sowed seed, noting that the seed that fell on good soil became a great harvest. And so it is with us – we are part of an abundant Gospel harvest, sinners saved by grace, those who have the promise of the resurrection! And the abundance also isn’t just in numbers, it is in quality … for we already enjoy as Christians the abundance of God’s Spirit dwelling in us, bearing fruit. We already have received joy, life, hope, compassion, goodness, blessing, salvation from Jesus, i.e, the abundant life of being in relationship with Him. And even that isn’t the full abundance we will one day know when we go to be with Him, when we are no longer burdened by cares, fears, sorrows, tears or sin. So there is a kind of super-abundance we can think about whenever we consider Christ as the “firstfruits.”
Firstfruits – it’s a good word. Even if it doesn’t become a part of your everyday vocabulary, it is worth considering what a marvelous truth it is that what we enjoy is only the beginning and that there is more to come, from the blessings each individual Christian receives to the expansion of the Gospel harvest to the ends of the earth. Praise the Lord of that harvest!