On a recent walk on the grounds of St. Scholastica Monastery, I noticed that the apple trees were laden with fruit. The branches were heavy with apples of all sizes and differing stages of ripeness. I marveled at the bounty and thought of the glories of creation and the power of the Creator. I also remembered that our Father “has willed us to be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18).
The concept of firstfruits comes from God’s work of creation. Because God created everything that exists, all of creation belongs to him. Consequently, that which is first and best belongs to him and is to be given to him.
When the Letter of James calls us to be “firstfruits of God’s creation” we are being called to be our best and give that best to God. We are to “humbly welcome the word” (1:21) into our hearts and live it in our lives by being “doers of the word and not hearers only” (1:22). We are admonished to “care for orphans and widows” (1:27a). Finally, we are challenged to “keep oneself unstained by the world” (1:27b) and stay focused on the coming of God’s Kingdom.
St. Teresa of Avila is known to have said, “The tree that is beside running water is fresher and bears more fruit.” May we be that tree she speaks of. May we always be connected to Christ, the source of life-giving water, that we may be the kind of firstfruits God dreams us to be!