In Christianity, the first fruit offering is a requirement by God. As the name suggests, it is any fruit or grain harvest that ripens the earliest. It also includes the dedication of the first male born of a livestock or human to God. This offering is regarded as a down payment guaranteeing God's richest blessings upon the remaining harvest and should be given before the rest of the harvest is taken. In giving it, we give our best and not our leftovers. You may be wondering: "How to calculate the first fruit offering?" Over the years, there has been much debate on the day in which we should give this offering, to learn more about this, continue reading the article below.
Why do we give a first fruit offering?
The first fruit offering should be given willingly and is dedicated to God because:
● We want to recognize His ownership of all that we possess.
● It is a deposit guaranteeing His blessings on the rest of our harvest.
Where in the Bible does it say that we should give a first fruit offering?
Exodus 23:19 - "The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk"
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 - "And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there. 3 And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us. 4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. 5 And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: 6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: 7 And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: 8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: 9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: 11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you."
Jeremiah 2:3 -"Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord."
Proverbs 3:9-10 - "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
Nehemiah 10:35-39 - "And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Lord: Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God: And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God."
Are first fruit offerings and tithe the same thing?
No, the tithe and first fruit are two separate offerings. The amount of the first fruit offering is determined by the individual while the tithe is 10% of an individual's gross salary.
Are first fruits offering limited to just fruits and livestock?
In some churches, first fruit offerings are not just limited to fruits and livestock. It may include:
● The first paycheck you receive for the year or from a new job.
● A percentage of the money earned from an item you sold.
● A percentage of following pay cheques.
● A moment of silence in the morning to reflect, worship and thank God.
● Having Sabbath at the beginning of your week.
READ ALSO: Discussing Tithing: Compulsion Or Free Will?
How do you calculate the first fruit offering?
Calculation of the first fruit offering will vary from person to person. Some individuals give it at the beginning of the new year to sow their seeds of blessings, prosperity, and to thank God for allowing them to see another year. After six months into the new year, they give another offering to thank God for all that He has done over the past six months. Finally, the last offering of the year is given in the last month to thank God for the year he has given to them and for the new year to come. In terms of mathematical calculations, fruit offerings are given three times a year in January, June, and December. Others will present to God offerings at any time of the year to either sow seeds of blessings and prosperity or to thank Him for such things.
As Christians, we bring glory to our God and thank Him as much as we can. We thank God for all that He has done, acknowledging Him as the owner of all that we possess and to sow seed that will grow a blossom into many blessings and prosperity. Even though there are two types of offerings: first fruit and tithe, there is no limit to how much we should to give back. However, in giving back, we must do so willingly and never selfishly.
READ ALSO: Nigerian church uses calabash to collect offerings (video).