One American holiday you don’t want to forget about, or you may be in a lot of trouble, is Mothers’ Day!
This holiday is a recognition of everything mothers do for their children, beginning with giving them life!
For most of us, who have grown up in American schools, we can recall sitting at our desk in elementary school and our teachers walking us through some a craft project—a homemade gift we could give our mothers on that special day.
With our tongues sticking out in deep concentration, we carefully cut out shapes from construction paper, and meticulously selected which colors we wanted.
We navigated the world of popsicle sticks and glue. And, in the end—and after a lot of hard work for an elementary school kid—we had a project ready to present to mom.
For most of us, our mothers were our world as kids. And, when Mothers’ Day came around, we wanted to present our best. No effort was too small … even if we were still small.
If I were to sum up this mood in biblical lingo, we wanted to offer our first fruits to our mothers as thanks for everything they’ve done to us.
The biblical world has the same expectation for God. We should always offer our best to God. We should offer up our first fruits to him.
This is also a key concept for us as finish our journey learning about servant leadership.
On the other hand, Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. This was a test of Abraham's faith and loyalty. In the end, because Abraham was willing to offer his first fruits, all of humanity was blessed.
We see the same example in the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. The Virgin Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, offered Mary to God when she was only three. She went to live in the Temple and be raised by the consecrated virgins. Because Joachim and Anna were also willing to offer their first fruits, the world was blessed when Mary became the Theotokos, the one who bore God.
As servant leaders, we also are called to offer our first fruits to God. Through our offering, we can be a blessing to others.
As learn our Bible, cultivate an awareness of what it’s saying, and put ourselves under its authority, we realize that it’s calling us to care for the least of these and to offer our first fruits.
On the the night that Jesus was betrayed, he became the ultimate example of a servant leader.
First, by washing his disciples feet—a job that was reserved for slaves—Jesus summed up his entire ministry. To be first in the kingdom, you must became last, serving your neighbor like the Good Samaritan.
And, secondly, he showed us what it means to offer our first fruits by allowing himself to be betrayed, mocked, and crucified. For us, he offered his life … God’s first fruits.
Now, we’re called to follow Christ. We’re called to serve the least of these in our own communities. And, we’re called to offer to God our own first fruits, the best we have to offer.
By doing this, we’ve truly become servant leaders who know how to walk the Way.
Check out the Orthodox Christian Leadership Initiative by clicking here.
What is The Way?
Fr. Dustin Lyon explores scripture to rediscover Christianity so that we can walk in the Way of the Lord.