What’s the difference between first fruits and tithe?

Hi Alycia

Kindly answer this question for me.
What’s the difference between first fruits and tithe? Also are we expected to give our first salary in the year as first fruits in church?



Thank you for your question and I hope I can be of some help. A Tithe refers to the 10% people offer from their finances to a church, whereas the first fruits refers to the amount people are encouraged to give the church on top of their current tithe. It comes out of Exodus 23:19, Proverbs 3:9-10, Deuteronomy 26 and Leviticus 23:10. In the Deuteronomy passage, the first fruits were originally given to God, as He instructed, as a thank you for God bringing them out of Egyptian slavery and into the land promised to them. Today, the first fruit can be given for multiple reasons including receiving a blessing from God, as a sacrifice that you believe that God will take care of you financially throughout the year, or as a way of saying thanks for how God has provided.

Some churches will have first fruits offerings as part of their yearly calendar encouraging people to give and start the year off with their first fruit. Other churches see it as something that was for the Jewish people for that time and not something that is a requirement for Christians to be doing today. Those churches do not ask their members for a first fruit.

I will say that I am resistant to any teaching that says that if you don’t give money to God He won’t bless you, or that if you do give money to God, He will bless you. I’m not sure if that is what is implied in your question, but I just wanted to put it out there that that teaching resembles closely the prosperity gospel which I think is very dangerous and heretical. People who follow this prosperity teaching give a lot of money to the church thinking that if they do God will provide them with big houses, cars and other material things. But this prosperity teaching makes our relationship with God conditional upon money and I don’t think that real relationship with God is quite so up and down, and definitely shouldn’t be money focused. Another massive problem I see with this occurs when after people give tons of money, they don’t find themselves receiving blessings from God, and as a result, they begin to question their relationship with Him, “Does God love me?”, “Why isn’t He blessing me?” They begin questioning why God hates them or whether or not they are even Christians anymore because God didn’t give them a new big house when the one they have is fine. We cannot buy our salvation. It is freely given to us as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet the prosperity gospel closely associates salvation, relationship with God and money.

So the challenge for you to consider is how do you interpret the scriptures given to the Jewish people in the OT, in regards to what God wants from the church, and specifically you, today? Since this is not my area of expertise, and it is something that will require a bit of study on your part, here is a link I found that might be helpful. It will help you understand different perspectives: https://www.compellingtruth.org/first-fruits.html.

But let me assure you, that you should never follow any teaching that makes your relationship with God or acceptance by God conditional on money. God does not need our money. He wants our hearts. That should always be the priority. And out of our devotion to Him, come good deeds and using our finances for the Kingdom, both in the church and outside.

I hope that helps,