In my experience, people are all too frequently misguided about what The Bible says about giving. Most of my life, I perceived giving as only financial or of my time. I didn't understand it in the terms that The Bible teaches it until I was well into my adult life. In 2013, I went on my first mission trip to Cuba. During Sunday service, the pastor shared about giving our first fruits, the first of our harvest, back to God. He taught about how since all things are from God, when we give, we are really giving back to God. We are trusting Him to multiply and asking Him to bless the gift. What I witnessed immediately following has stuck with me! He called to receive the offering and I watched as congregational members brought up their literal first fruit. Plantains, Mango's, Avocados, a memory card for a digital camera and money. A variety of items representing the first blessings received by these individuals for their hard work. The pastor praised God for the blessings, prayed over them for Jesus blessing and asked God to multiply the impact of each gift as well as the provisions for the givers.
I had never before been so full of desire to be more generous and less selfish. Upon returning from that trip, by the grace of God, my husband was aligned with this and he and I began paying more attention to our giving. We listened differently for Gods guidance as to where to give and let Him expand our self imposed boundaries of our generosity. In response to our obedience, God began blessing us for our generosity and we began to develop a deeper desire to give. It was so much fun!
We studied to learn more about what the Bible says about giving. We read in Luke Chapter 9 about how Jesus gave thanks, blessing the 5 loaves and 2 fish, and then 5000 were fed. We began to understand that in order to experience multiplication of the gift, they have to be blessed first! We began asking God to bless everything we gave, the people who received it and the impact it would have on his children. That it would go further than imaginable and that countless lives would be impacted by it.
God fine tuned this desire in our hearts over the next several years and we eventually opened a separate bank account so we could separate funds for giving from our living and saving funds. This allows us to access the funds in any volume or time frame we feel led to without having to think about our living expenses. This proved to be even more fun, as we could let it sit and grow and then give in a big way to one person or in smaller ways to multiple people. We love having this and remain blessed by it today.
As God prepared my heart for Adored Boutique, He used what He built in my heart, to show me about giving through Adored. He said, "15%" , and because my heart was aligned, I said "okay". To date, we have given at least 15% each month of our gross profits. Sometimes in the form of money and sometimes in the form of inventory. Every time, I am blessed by the experience and I get to see what I know is just a little picture of the big impact.
Where are you when it comes to giving your first fruits? Do you go willingly and cheerfully? If not, give it a try! You'll be pleasently surprised, I promise.