Christians take to church their first fruit offerings as gratitude to God for blessing their land, animals, and the work of their hands (careers). You are required to give the best of your first fruits, not the leftovers. This article explains more about the significance of the first fruits in the Bible and how to calculate this offering.
The Bible prohibits Christians from showing off when giving their first fruits offerings. It should not be a public display of wealth. Instead, let your first fruit offering be a humble gesture to God. God only accepts offerings brought to Him with good intentions.
What are the first fruits in the Bible?
The first fruits are the firstborn offspring of your livestock, the first products you get from your livestock, and the first harvest you get from your crops. The employed can give their first salaries or a percentage, while business owners can offer their first revenue or a portion. Also, you can give a percentage of your business income or salary once every financial year.
Livestock are domesticated animals (including fish, bees, poultry, etc.) raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and products like meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool for consumption or to sell and make profits.
Are first fruits offerings limited to just fruits and livestock?
First fruits offering is not limited to fruits and livestock because some are not farmers. The concept of the first fruits offering includes your salary and business revenue.
What is the significance of the first fruits?
The first fruit offering represents giving back to God the best of what He has provided you. It shows you acknowledge God as your provider and rely on Him. Additionally, your offering means you believe you cannot achieve anything without God's help and guidance.
The Bible mentions this offering for the first time in Genesis 4:3–5 when the children of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, offered God their first fruits:
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
How do you calculate your first fruit offering?
Set aside every first offspring of your livestock as your first fruit offering. Also, take to church the first products you get from your livestock, e.g., eggs, honey, and milk. As for things like fur, leather, and wool, you can give God the money you make from selling these products for the first time or a percentage of that income.
When it comes to the first harvest you get from your crops, the first salary you get from your career, and the first income you generate from your business, it is up to you to decide how generous you want to be when giving your offering. The Bible does not state the percentage of crop harvest or money you should give to God from your crop produce, first salary, or business revenue.
How many times should you give the first fruit offering?
There is no specific number of times you should give God your first fruit offering. It all depends on the type of farming. For instance, someone rearing cattle will offer their first fruit less frequently than a person raising chickens because cattle do not reproduce as regularly as chickens.
Also, some people harvest crop produce once a year or two, while others reap several times a year. Those harvesting once take a percentage of the first harvest to church, while those who harvest severally can give God the entire first harvest or a portion of it.
Most business owners and the employed make a once-off fruit offering, which is their first business revenue or salary. Meanwhile, others go the extra mile by giving God a percentage of their business revenue or salary once each financial year.
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Some do this whenever they make successful business deals or change jobs. It all depends on how one interprets the first fruits offering and how generous they want to be.
How do you give your first fruit offering?
Some Christians do not give their first fruit offerings, others are inconsistent, and most fall back after doing it for some time. These tips will help you be consistent with your first fruit offerings:
- Prioritize the whole idea behind the first fruit offering to God. Make it part of your lifestyle and obligation as a Christian.
- Keep a record of your farm produce to know which livestock, livestock products, and crop harvest should be your first fruit offering. You can use professional farm record-keeping books for this.
- Keep a record of your business revenue and salary to know which amount should be your first fruit offering.
- Pray to God to help you be honest and generous when offering your first fruit. Your amount of fruit offerings increases when God blesses you with more wealth. Greed can tempt you to keep some of your fruit offerings to yourself.
What is the difference between tithe and first fruits offering?
A tithe is 10% of your gross salary or business income. Meanwhile, the first fruit is any percentage of the first income you get when you start a new business/career/new job or a portion of your business income or salary once every financial year. Also, it can be the first offspring of your livestock or any share of the first harvest you get from your crops/animal products.
Where are the first fruits mentioned in the Bible?
The Bible has many scriptures addressing the first fruit offering, its importance, how and where to take it, etc. Below are some of those Bible verses:
- In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. — Genesis 4:3-5
- When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. — Leviticus 23:10
- The first of all first fruits of every kind and every contribution of every kind, from all your contributions, shall be for the priests: you shall also give to the priest the first of your dough to cause a blessing to rest on your house. — Ezekiel 44:30
- Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk. — Exodus 23:19
- Take some of the first fruit of all that you produce from the soil of the land that the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. — Deuteronomy 26:2
- Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord. — Jeremiah 2:3
- Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. — Proverbs 3:9-10
- We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the first fruits of our crops and every fruit tree. As it is also written in the law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God to the priests ministering there. — Nehemiah 10:35-36
What are the first fruits of God's creation?
God gave His first fruit, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for human beings. It was an act of sacrifice to save humans from sin. Also, God considers Christians as His fruits to humankind.
How do you say “first fruit offering” in Hebrew?
The Hebrew word for the first fruit is Bikkurim, and its literal meaning is a "promise to come."
Christians should look for teachings about the first fruits in the Bible to avoid being misled by preachers who want to take advantage of them. Be consistent with your first fruits offerings and pray to God to help you make wise investments with the money and resources He gives you so that you can give more back to the church.
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