Should I give my whole first month’s salary to my church as ‘first-fruit’?
Usually when I am asked this question, my answer is straightforward. “It is your money and you can do anything you like with it.” I mean that simply!
Now, if the question is “did the Lord command that Christians should surrender their whole January salary (income) to their church as first-fruits?” Then I give another unequivocal answer: No, He never did. There is no such thing in the whole Bible, not even under the Law of Moses. Yes, many churches ask their members to do it, but it is a decision of the elders of the church and is not the commandment of God or the Lord Jesus to Christians. God doesn’t have any special blessings attached to it, and so I hope the elders can pray a special blessing for the people who obey them. My personal advice to anyone asking is this: if you consider it burdensome and so would be grudgingly doing it, then please do not do it. Don’t worry, the Lord is not angry with you, He didn’t command it in the first place. Anything you give to Him from your heart, willingly and by faith, is good enough for Him.
Having said that, let me quickly clarify the practice of first-fruits as it was in the Bible. First, bear in mind that every occurrence of the term in the New Testament relates to Christ Jesus and His saints. Both Jesus Christ and saints in churches were referred to as the first fruits offered to God. There was never a time it referred to money, income or material things. What the New Testament always teaches about money and material things is generosity and not trusting in those things. We are to be careful to trust in God alone. Every Christian must be generous continuously and make giving priority in their lives. In what the Lord gives to us, seed for sowing is before bread for eating (2 Cor 9:10). That tells us that we must give as a matter of priority.
Also, there was no occurrence of first-fruits giving before the Law. There is no doubt that the giving of first-fruits as a commandment is only to be found under the Law. Even under the law, the offering of first-fruits was not burdensome. It was a token of gratitude for what the Lord had done. The law did not at any time specify the amount that was to be given in this matter but left it to each individual's discretion. The first fruits were brought in a basket to the sanctuary and presented to the priest, who was to set the basket down before the altar. It was not much; it could fit into a basket. It was definitely nothing sizeable compared with the rest of the harvest. Then, the person recited the story of Jacob's going to Egypt and the deliverance of his descendants from there. He then acknowledged the blessings with which God had visited him (Deut 26:2-11). See, it was a ceremony of thanksgiving. If we are to obey this as salary earners in these modern days, it is something that would be done from every salary, every time we are paid for a job, not just in January alone. Each time you harvest, you will take a small amount, as you like, and offer it. It will be the very first expenditure.
But we all know that Christians are not obligated to keep the laws of Moses as a practice of their faith, so we do not have to do this all the time. But there are things to learn from the Law.
What we learn from the Law is the spirit of that commandment. The spirit is that of acknowledging God. It is that of giving Him the praise and glory for all that He has done and is doing in our lives. It is the habit of gratitude that the Lord was teaching Israel. It was one of those ordinances He gave to them so that they would not forget Him.
But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous… be careful! …Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. Deut 8:11-18 NLT
Whatever ordinance you want to practice, please remember that the aim is to remember God our Father. Give what you want to give; it is as your spirit leads. No one should command you that you MUST present your whole month’s salary. It is not the law of God.
Remember, but God loves a cheerful giver; that is what Christianity is. Let no one make merchandise of your soul by making obedience to the laws of man compulsory for you. You are free to serve God. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
There are no comments yet.