“Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.”
I was preaching at a conference with a friend of mine back at the church in California where I grew up. After the morning preaching sessions, the pastor organized a lunch for everyone at the church. After we ate lunch, they brought in a plate of fruit for us to enjoy for dessert. On this plate were a basket of strawberries. When the preacher friend of mine saw these strawberries, he made the statement, “These strawberries are huge.”
The strawberries they brought for us to eat were not just ordinary strawberries. There was a reason why they were so big and sweet. These strawberries were the firstripe strawberries. These strawberries would be the best ones of the seasons. As the season progresses, the strawberries won’t be a big as the firstripe strawberries, and they also won’t hold the sweet taste. The firstripe strawberries are truly the best strawberries of the season.
The verse above describes the actions of many Christians when it comes to their treatment of God. God was upset because Israel gave Him the summer fruits instead of the firstripe fruit. God knew why He asked for the firstripe fruit, and Israel’s choice to give the summer fruit was revealing of their love for the LORD. Many Christians seem to reason that they are giving to the LORD, but they are giving Him the summer fruits and keeping the firstripe fruits for themselves. God desires the best from you. He knows that the firstripe fruits of your life are no comparison to the summer fruits of your life, but He wants your best. Three things are revealed by whether or not you give your firstripe fruits to Him.
First, it shows your love for God. When you are willing to give God your best, you are showing that you prefer Him before yourself. When God is your chief love, you will want Him to have your best. I’m not questioning if you love God, but I am asking you if He is your chief love. If God is your first love, you won’t have any problems giving Him your firstripe fruits.
Second, it shows your surrender to His will. When you are willing to give God the best of your life instead of the leftovers, you are showing that you are surrendered to His will. God knows that the human desire would be to do something for ourselves on Sundays, but when we are willing to be in church for all the services, it shows our surrender to His will. A person who won’t be faithful to church is revealing their lack of surrender to God. God wants the best part of your week, which is Sunday. There are other instances we could use, but your willingness to give God the firstripe fruits shows your willingness to surrender to His will.
Third, it reveals what is important to you. What or who we give the best to reveals their importance. All I have to do is look at your daily and weekly schedule and find where you have placed God on it, and I will discover how important God is to you.
My friend, God wants the firstripe fruit. If you gave me a choice between those firstripe strawberries and the summer strawberries, I would take the firstripe ones every time. God knows how important He is to you by your willingness to give Him your firstripe fruits. My question for you is this, is God getting your best?