Christians speak on first fruit offering

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No need for special service for first fruit

First fruit offering is a question of faith and it has to do with individual conviction. Pastors do not have to preach about it or create a special programme for its collection. If you do it faithfully, you get the reward from God. Those who attend churches where the definition of first fruit offering means the January offering should embrace and obey the injunction according to their faith. It is not an issue that should attract argument or any form of controversy. Christians should read their Bible and act according to their conviction.

Elder Bisi Ogunjobi, a former Vice-President of the African Development Bank, is Pro-Chancellor, Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Edo State

The issue is causing havoc among salary earners

I don’t believe in it. I am a Baptist Church member and we don’t pay first fruit there. I only know about tithe and offering. The issue of first fruit is causing a lot of havoc, especially among salary earners. There is an employee of mine who usually pays her January salary to one pastor as first fruit. This lady will then start to borrow money from her colleagues by the second week of February. When the situation was becoming embarrassing, I warned her colleagues not to lend her money again. I don’t know whether it is biblical or not, but we don’t believe in it in my church.

Chief Adeniyi Akintola is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria

First fruit is not January salary

The Bible enjoins us to honour the Lord with our first fruit but unfortunately, many Christians lack a proper understanding of this injunction. First fruit is not the January salary of a believer. The first fruit represents our first increase on any new venture that we embark upon in a given time. Using the increase to serve God is beneficial according to one’s faith but there are no repercussions whatsoever for not doing so.

Bamidele Salam, a lawyer, is a former Chairman of the Egbedore Local Government Area of Osun State

My pastor didn’t ask me to pay first fruit

I don’t know anything about first fruit offering. I attend Christ Living Apostolic Ministry and my pastor, Wole Oladiyun, has never told me to pay my January salary to his church. I don’t know about churches that do that.

Rotimi Martins, aka Alariwo of Africa, is a popular Afro-beat singer

It’s fraudulent to demand January salary as first fruit

The issue of first fruit offering is a matter of choice. Anything that is not stated in the Bible cannot be said to be binding on anybody. I think it is an indirect way of defrauding people. It is not biblical because the Word of God does not mandate Christians to pay their total income in January to any pastor. Any pastor demanding that from his followers is committing fraud.

Rotimi Makinde is a former member of the House of Representatives

First fruit attracts overwhelming blessings

First fruit offering is the payment of all one’s increase. It is usually a yearly payment. In the days of old, it is the payment of the proceeds from the first harvest. Today, it is the payment of one’s January salary or the entire profit made from your business in the month of January. I believe in the payment of first fruit offering. It is biblical as established in Proverbs 3:9; Romans 11:16; Leviticus 23:10 and Exodus 23:19. Moses, in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, also stated the significance of first fruit offering in 13 different instances. The repercussion for those who don’t is limited blessings.

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise

No punishment for those who don’t pay

As the name implies, first fruit is the first harvest from one’s investment. It could be farm produce, livestock and other business endeavours. It is given to God as sacrifice in acknowledgement of His blessings upon mankind. It could be the first salary a worker receives in his new employment, and given as a sacrifice to God in expectation of his blessing. It attracts God’s favours and unending flow of his supplies. It is biblical as contained in Exodus 23:14-22 and Leviticus 22:29. Unlike tithe, first fruit is neither fixed nor mandatory. It’s given willingly, therefore there’s no punishment attached.

Elder Ignatius Arop, senior staff member, University of Calabar

Every Christian is expected to pay

First fruit is the offering made from the first proceeds of the year. For instance, the first salary you receive in a new employment or the proceeds from your first contract in January should go to the church. For the unemployed, it is expected that whatever money someone gives them in January should be used as first fruit. However, the interpretation varies from church to church.

I believe in first fruit offering because it is biblical and every Christian is expected to observe it. Some churches believe that it should be the entire January salary, while others think it should be a special offering from the January salary. There are blessings for those who pay.

Janet Mba-Afolabi, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Scroll Nigeria

First fruit shouldn’t be January salary

First fruit is the payment of the first salary you earn in a new employment. You are supposed to devote the entire salary you get to God. First fruit could also come in form of child dedication to God. In my church, The Apostolic Church, we do not consider the payment of our entire January salary to the church as first fruit. We are, however, encouraged to sow seeds of faith from our salary. It does not necessarily have to be from the January salary. You can do that after deducting your tithe. No percentage is specified for the seed of faith. You can pay according to your capability and faith. It is also not compulsory. What I know is that payment of tithe from your monthly salary is obligatory while first fruit offering should be your first salary in a new employment. It should not be an annual issue. First fruit is biblical in the context that I have explained. I know that blessings of God await those who pay but there are no biblical references to condemn those who don’t pay, unlike the issue of tithe.

Mrs. Funke Fadugba is a former Chairman of the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists

Pastors shouldn’t force their members to pay

First fruit is the giving of a person’s first substance to God, according to Romans 11:16. Payment of first fruit is not compulsory but voluntary. Those who want special blessings in their work, business and career are encouraged to pay. It is biblical and failure to pay may lead to low increase. First fruit does not mean payment of the entire January salary. First fruit is the increase on the salary after a promotion. Those whose faith can carry it may decide to pay their January salary as first fruit offering. There is no repercussion for those who don’t pay. It is just for those who want an increase on their income. Pastors should not force or coerce their members to pay it. The servants of God could arrange a series of lectures or preaching on the topic so that people can get used to it and know the reasons why they are paying.

Daniel Emmanuel is a lecturer at Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State

Compiled by: SUNDAY ABORISADE, MUDIAGA AFFE and OLUFEMI MAKINDE

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