By Lona Isaacs
This week I collected my first royalty cheque and I was pleasantly surprised. Earlier this year I had attended a writers’ workshop and learned that persons who have published works could register them with a local copyright organization and could collect royalty payments at the end of the year. So I set about registering my three published articles shortly thereafter.
When I received an email notifying me that my cheque was ready for pickup, I didn’t expect much. I thought, maybe J$5000, if that much. So when I looked at my cheque, my eyes popped open. Yes, it was a lot more than I had imagined.
After I got home, I made a mental note to pay my tithe from the amount, as a dutiful Christian should. But then, a word flashed through my mind, “firstfruits”. I quietly rejected it. Perish the thought! Maybe it was just my mind, I thought. And so I went on my merry way, content that I would give my tithe, and tithe alone.
The next morning as I got ready for work, I remembered that I had not listened to a favorite program of mine on TBC radio the previous morning, so I made a special effort to tune in that morning. When the promo for the program started, I could not believe my ears! The topic that morning was…..you guessed it…..firstfruit offerings. The preacher was very clear. The first of any income, increase, crop, children etc was to be given to God as a firstfruit offering. The firstfruit offering ensured that the rest were blessed. This was my very first royalty cheque, so it meant that it was to be offered unto God as a firstfruit offering.
I could not deny it, God was speaking to me. He spoke, and then He confirmed His word by allowing me to hear a sermon on the same issue the very next day. Right there and then, I decided to be obedient. I remembered that obedience is better than sacrifice. So as much as I had other plans for that money, I had to surrender them to God’s plan. One of my deepest desires is to continually hear the voice of God, so indeed this was a test for me; a test that I could not afford to fail.
As I later reflected on the matter, I realized that it makes no sense to ask God to speak if we are not willing to obey when He commands us to do something, even if it stretches us, even if it takes us outside our comfort zone, even if it is hard. And God does not always ask us to do something hard. Sometimes when He speaks, it is a word of encouragement and hope. Sometimes He gives us a promise. Sometimes He provides comfort. But when He gives us instruction, we must be ready and willing to obey. So when we ask God to speak to us, when we ask Him to give us the ability to hear his voice clearly, let us also ask for courage and willingness to do what He asks us to do.
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