When the time is ripe

I've heard it said that there are two types of people in the world, those who love Neil Diamond and those who don't.  But seriously, there are two types of people in the world, those who are morning people, and those of us that are sane.

Morning is not my jam.

My motor has to rev for a while before it really gets running.  I've always known this about myself.  This is not new information.  And for years I beat myself up about not being the type of woman that jumps up, pops my Bible open for study, and then cooks my children a nutritious breakfast.  I tried that once, and it just wasn't happening.  (I hope my kids remember that morning I tried and not just their cereal existence.)

Someone finally set me free when I heard someone say, "Study your Bible everyday.  It doesn't have to be at 6am, but pick a time and do it."  I wish I could remember who that was.  I would give them props here and a virtual high five.

When I heard that I didn't have to study my Bible at 6am to be a godly woman, my heart painted it's face, jumped on a horse, and cried, "FREEDOM!"

So I've been set free, but every once and a while I hear or read a word and it shuts me back into that stifling dungeon of perfectionism, falling short of that idealistic woman in my head.

That word is firstfruits.

I love the picture and concept of firstfruits.  I cherish remembering that everything I have is something that God made and truly belongs to Him, and that I can lay the first of my produce and possessions at His feet in honor, love, and worship to my Creator and Provider.

Now that we aren't all walking behind a till and placing seeds in the ground, thank you industrial revolution!!!, this idea of firstfruits has become even more symbolic to us.  Back in Moses's day, God laid down the laws for His people, he asked them to practice the Sabbath and to celebrate Holy days.  He told them to bring the first of their grains as an offering.

There is so much symbolism and foreshadowing of Christ in all of the institutions God set up in Exodus and Leviticus.  Everything that is asked of Moses, Aaron, and those desert-living Israelites points to God as our Father, Jesus as our high priest and Savior, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Handing that sheaf of wheat to the priest was setting up God's system of tithing.  But we have to understand that God doesn't need grain.  He doesn't need sustenance to nourish himself the way that us humans do.

Even now, as we tithe, I hope you know that God doesn't need our money.  God doesn't have a bank account He needs to balance or bills to pay.

God wants our heart.  That grain was precious to those people.  They were living in a desert and trying to feed their children.  Giving that firstfruit to God took self-restraint and acknowledgement that God was providing for them.

God is still in the business of hearts.  Tithing the first of our money still takes self-restraint and acknowledging that God provides everything.

My point is that the firstfruit has and always will be symbolic.  And I swoon over the glorious pictures that God paints for us.

My problem comes when we take the firstfruit idea and try to apply it to time.

Time is mysterious.  Solomon wrote about that in Ecclesiastes 3, "There is an occasion for everything and a time for every activity under heaven:...."  We've all heard this part of scripture thanks to the 60's band The Byrds.  (Personally I prefer their song, "So you wanna' be a rock n' roll star."  It's beyond groovy.)

So we might think that our early morning hours are a firstfruit of our time.  I grasp the concepts that lead to that conclusion, and I've heard some testimonies of people who were touched or encouraged in their walk by this analogy.  I've heard women testify that their morning barns were filled and their vats were bursting with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)  I'm happy for them.

But for me, that dog don't hunt.

Think about time with me for a minute.  Right now it's almost lunch time, but in Addis Abba, our little boy we are waiting to adopt is just going to bed for the night.  What time is on the moon where the zones don't apply?  Are our firstfruits our teenage years?  Our twenties?  I hope not.  I've still got time to live and give back to God.  He gives me each second so graciously and generously.

Let me give you non-morning people some of that "FREEDOM."  Give God your best time.  Give God your time that is ripe and fresh and sweet.  For me that is mid to late afternoon.  Figure out what time that is, and lay it at His feet with prayer and study of His precious word to us.  If 6am is your best time, give it to God.  (And I'll try to be friends with you, but I can't promise anything.)

Can I tell you the moment that I realized that I could finally completely let go of my "morning firstfruit" guilt.  My church started having a night service after a decade of not having one.  We started meeting on Wednesday nights last year for worship and Pastor Donnie Lane, Jr. sharing some teaching from the Word.  A few weeks in, my husband and I had this conversation.

Me:  "Wow!  Donnie really saves his deeper preaching for these night services.  He really is digging into the word and revealing some truths." 
My husband, James:  "Not really.  You were just awake." 
Me:  "Ohhhh!  You're right!"

So that happened.  Ha!  Thank you God for giving me a husband that knows me.  My dad also knows me too.  Sometimes when I call him, he answers the phone, "How's my little night owl?"  It's true.

Let these verses encourage you and your heart any time of the day you might choose to read this, to draw near to His Word and Him who was the Word.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV

Writing this blog has turned into a YouTube session of listing to The Byrds.  So I thought I should share.  Listen to this masterpiece.  The trumpet, the vibraslap percussion, crowd noises, and those lyrics.  Music makes me happy.