Pentecost: What’s it to you?
Last Sunday many Christians celebrated Pentecost, often referred to as “the birthday of the Church.” But long before there was a church, Jewish people were celebrating Pentecost, calling it by its original Hebrew names—including Hag ha Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) and Hag ha Bikkurim (the Feast of First Fruits). Because the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, this year Pentecost Sunday occurred a little over a month before the actual Jewish holiday.
But going back to that Pentecost that we read about in the book of Acts, God’s amazing timing had Jesus’ disciples receiving the promised power of the Holy Spirit just as Jewish people from around the world were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. That’s why the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to speak all those different languages . . . so the Jewish pilgrims could hear about Yeshua (Jesus) in words that made sense to them.
If you would like to know more about the Jewish Roots of Pentecost, our book, Christ in the Feast of Pentecost will take you deep into the origins of this rich holiday, as well as its fulfillment in and through Messiah Jesus.
Meanwhile here’s something short and sweet to help you enjoy the first fruit aspect of the season:
The First Fruits principles reminds us of three keys to spiritual health:
- We are utterly dependent upon God
The call to give God first fruits reminds us that everything belongs to God; without Him there would be no harvest. It’s when we somehow trick ourselves (or allow ourselves to be tricked) into thinking that we don’t need God that we begin doing weird things to try to control our circumstances.
- Gratitude to God not only keeps us joyful, it’s the best preventive to many spiritual maladies.
Giving first fruits is meant to be an expression of gratitude as well as dependence. God does not need our gratitude (though He seems to enjoy it) but we have a need to be grateful—gratitude crowds out pride, anger, stinginess and many other things that attack our peace and the peace of those around us.
- God deserves our trust . . . and we do so much better off when we acknowledge that.
We can afford to give God first fruits because He promises more to come. This is true, not only of our finances, but of our time and our affections. When we love God first, and make Him the first to receive back from the abundance He supplies something great happens. He multiplies that love—as well as whatever resources we need to express that love—to others. That’s why it’s important to give firstfruits from our hearts, not as a legalistic duty to cross off a checklist. Try bringing that first fruits principle into your morning devotional time if you haven’t already. You might find that giving more love and more time to Him in the morning gives you more of everything you need for the rest of the day!