John D. Barry
Doing God’s work is a curious thing. It requires both mad rushes and patiently waiting.
Christ followers are meant to think like the psalmist did: “I waited patiently for Yahweh, And he inclined to me and heard my cry for help” (Psa 40:1). Yet Jesus’ followers are also meant to do His work at breakneck speed, as described in Deut 26:1, where the Israelites are told to take possession of the promised land and settle it.
We’re meant to recognize where the answers and timeframe come from: God. Giving the first of what we make to God’s work indicates this understanding: “You shall take from the firstfruit of all the fruit of the ground that you harvest from your land that Yahweh your God is giving to you … and you shall go to the priest who is in office in those days, and you shall say, ‘I declare today to Yahweh your God that I have come into the land that Yahweh swore to our ancestors to give to us.’ Then the priest takes the basket from your hand and places it before the altar of Yahweh your God” (Deut 26:2–4).
In ancient Israel, the firstfruits wouldn’t be wasted. This sacrifice would provide the priest with a livelihood so that he could serve Yahweh by serving others.
God has asked His followers to listen and to act, but to leave the timeframe of doing both up to Him. Giving after we complete both tasks shows that we realize that God has given us all we have, and it requires us to understand the purpose of sacrifice.
Just as the Israelites were a wandering people (Deut 26:5), we were also once wandering sinners. It’s for this reason, and many others, that we must trust our God in our patience, in our speed, and with our giving.
What is God asking you to be patient about, and where should you make haste? How are you currently neglecting to give?
This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.