First Fruits

In Walden, Thoreau wrote: Summer morning. Photo credit: Andreas Krappweis

The true husbandman will cease from anxiety, as the squirrels manifest no concern whether the woods will bear chestnuts this year or not, and finish his labor with every day, relinquishing all claim to the produce of his fields, and sacrificing in his mind not only his first but his last fruits also.


In Biblical times, the people sacrificed to God the first fruits of every harvest. Because food was so hard to grow in the desert, the sacrifice of the first successful crop to God was a real demonstration of the community’s faith that God would provide for their needs. They acknowledged their lack of control over life, and through this admission gained real freedom.