Devotion in Motion: The Stir-Fry Fiasco

“Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase.”  Proverbs 3:9

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Sometimes as a country preacher who’s also a schoolteacher, I have days that are very busy. Several years ago, when my boys were preschoolers, I had a day that was particularly hectic. I got up at 4:30 in the morning and drove to Meridian, Mississippi where I had prayer with one of my church members who was having surgery that day. From there, I drove an hour so that I could arrive at school before 8:00 a.m. I taught school until 3:30 p.m. and then drove back to Meridian to visit my patient in the hospital.  From there I had to hurry home so I could get ready to preach at a Wednesday night prayer meeting.

Arriving at the house, I was met by some friends of ours who’d brought over a special treat — a dinner of Chinese take-out. That couple’s toddlers were happily playing with my two boys. Susan said, “We’ve already eaten, but I’ve covered you a plate. You probably have time to eat quickly before we have to go over to the church.” So, I sat down and ate a delicious plate of fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and broccoli with beef. Then we went to church.

The next day was not so hectic. When I got home from work, I looked around for something to eat for supper. There on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator was a beautiful plate of Chinese food covered with Saran wrap. I asked Susan where this plate had come from, and  she told me that it was the plate she had prepared for me the night before. So, we began to wonder what I’d eaten the night before.  After some investigation, the mystery was solved. Susan said, “Oh no! You ate the plate of scraps I was going to give to the dogs. I scraped all of that off the kids’ plates!”

Well, time has passed since then, and evidently I’m no worse for the wear. I try to listen more carefully to my wife when she tells me where she’s putting something. My supper didn’t make me sick, and I didn’t catch any dread diseases. But I’ll tell you the truth: I’d rather have my own plate of food. I don’t really like eating other folks’ scraps.

This is a principle that also applies to our relationship with God. Throughout the Old Testament, people were always taking the best for themselves and giving the Lord their scraps. That’s why in today’s Scripture text (at the top) God asked his people to give the “firstfruits” of their increase to Him. This means that whenever God prospers us in some way, we should give Him His share first. And, we should always give the best of whatever we have to God. We would never do any less than that for an earthly guest—so how much more so for our Heavenly Father!

Dear mamas, let’s start anew to strive to give God our first and our best in this coming week. We’ll never be able to do it perfectly, but God is pleased with our efforts. In light of all that God has done for us, can we do any less for Him?

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher is careful to “ask questions” if he finds that his plate of Chinese food is cut up in little pieces.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to