Two youth leaders from a sensitive nation challenged me at meetings in Italy. They shared astonishing testimonies of how God has emboldened them to speak out about Jesus, even at the risk of their lives. Their closing words, with radiant joy on their faces were, “And we thank God for placing us in our nation because we may even have the privilege of dying for our Lord.” And here’s the YFC part – both of these precious men “of whom the world is not worthy” were trained by our very own staff; YFC leaders giving of the first fruits of their missional passion to partner across very, very dangerous borders. Remember, passion, in the classic sense, literally means the disposition to sacrifice everything, even if that means dying for Jesus.
We often read these first fruits passages in a very sterile way. We think of tithes and offerings, tidiness and order in a church setting. But the first fruits principle is laced with life-changing, dirt-stained Truth. We produce fruit from the soil the Lord gives us. He gives us our bodies, our families, our talents, our evangelistic calling.
And what is the basket we place our first fruits in? Our willingness! We place the basket of our willingness before God, we bow down in reverent surrender and gratefulness and celebrate that apart from Him, we can produce nothing!
Our boldness in witness is only as brave as our gratitude. When we are intimate with Jesus, the “land of our lives” flows with milk and honey. When we realise that he gives us the soil, He gives us the harvest, we run to the altar with our baskets overflowing.
Spiritual Caveat: There is nothing that vexes the Evil One more than a willing Christian.