The First and Best

Today’s Scripture Selection: Leviticus 23:1014460810-doodle-style-sheaf-of-wheat-illustration-in-vector-format

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.

It was a matter of faith, and a sign of commitment.  The people of God were to offer to God their first and best: dedicate the crops they had grown, the animals they had raised, and the firstborn of their family (not sacrificed but dedicated, then redeemed, by sacrificial giving).

How different it is today when so many claim the first and the best for themselves because, after all, they have “earned” it.

At the time of this writing, we have just celebrated another Christmas season.  I love the gifts that I received – and I enjoyed seeing others enjoy the gifts I gave.

It’s a good time to reflect on how we are called to give our best to God – materially and spiritually.

Of course, what this all points to from a Christian perspective, is that God “so loved the world” that he gave His “only begotten Son” to save it.  Talk about giving the first and best!

So, I invite you to reflect – as a New Year begins – to think about what you might offer up to God.  Can you find something new, something precious, something of real value, that you can give to God as the “first and best” you offer this year.

I have a feeling that should we be faithful to do this, God will make very, very good use of it.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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