People who grow fruit trees know that the first several years the tree either produces no fruit or the fruit is small and not tasty. It takes several years for a fruit tree to mature and produce good fruit. So we could see in this law generally good advice about fruit trees. But the other lesson is about who to thank for those fruit trees and their produce. In the first year that the fruit matures the entire crop should be given to God in praise and thanks. The tree has grown; the soil has been fertile; the rainfall and sunshine plentiful; no locusts or birds have eaten the fruit. So in this first good year of harvest, the firstfruits all belong to God (Proverbs 3:9).
We all have first fruits of one kind or another. We earn a college degree and go out for our first year of work in our chosen field. We enter an apprenticeship program, become a journeyman and then a master. We start a new venture and have our first year when we turn a profit.
There's a temptation for many of us, I think, to consider this thanks offering as a tax instead. It is not necessarily freely and gratefully given. But a praise offering needs to be given with thanksgiving in our hearts.
For Reflection: Has there been a time in my life when I did not give all the firstfruits of my labor to God? If so, how can I make up for it? Have I continued to give God thanks through the days and the years for all He has given me?
Let us pray. Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. How priceless is your unfailing love (Psalm 36: 5-6, 7).
"Homemade Rice Bowl" By ParentingPatch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons