Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Fruits or Best Fruits?

In a conversation recently a question was asked regarding the quality of olive oil needed in the Church. My response was a simple one: “We offer God the best we have.” We grow up hearing the term “first fruits” that are offered to God but most of us do not understand the true meaning of this challenge.

Απ’αρχή is the Greek expression often translated as “first fruits” in Scripture. While this is a correct and accurate translation it does not convey the full meaning of the expression. In biblical times ‘first fruits’ did not indicate the actual first fruit to be harvested (or pulled out of the ground) but the best fruit of the harvest. Those who garden know the first is rarely the best of any crop.

Taken in this way, we can see that we should be offering God the best olive oil we have. This oil burns as a sacrifice offering in front of the Holy Relics, on the Holy Altar Table, and in front of Holy Icons, as an expression of our love for God. Would we want to express our love for God with old and low-quality oil when we use new fresh extra-virgin oil in our salads? In fact, we should offer the best oil to God and use what is left on our salads.

The same must be said for anything we offer to God: time, talent, and treasure (what we call Stewardship). When we make an offering to God, let it be the best we have; not the leftovers.

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