My Reply To Fr Ejiofor
My Reply To Fr Ejiofor: Fr Ejiofor Samson Asadu. First, I thank you Father for taking out time to respond to my post on first fruit. I sincerely appreciate!
I must equally acknowledge that some other persons have equally shared the same sentiments as yours. Some I have been able to respond to. Others I have simply kept mute for some obvious reasons.
Each time I write, I do not neglect the fact that people can draw diverse meanings, even meanings that I never imagined. This post is an example. This I am aware of.
To some, I set out to cancel any form of tithe or first fruit.
To others, I set out to redefined offerings. That from my teaching, offerings MUST be returned to the person who brought it.
While others too felt I was just teaching a false doctrine, and as one writer rightly put it while admonishing those who read the post, “beware of this false teaching.”
From your evaluation, it is important we note two distinctions you failed to take note of or else we won’t address the issues you raised appropriately:
First is the aspect of contribution…this is more like a particular obligation or a certain amount that every member is required as a matter of necessity to contribute for a certain project or cause… Using some of the examples you gave like, building the temple, building ark of the covenant, the example of the widow who gave her all, the example of the early Christians. Etc
I am glad that at some point you noted this as “donations”. And let me also say, you can call them contributions. With this, everyone is expected to give something that they have no matter how little. This belong to a different class on its own. I do not think my post is talking about this part.
The second is what we may call “sacrifices, or offerings” which people give not because there is a particular project that they are demanded to contribute to. It is an offering that come as a personal respond of a believer to faith. This is often personal, and sometimes motivated by the person’s conviction to what God wants. We can give example of Abraham’s sacrifice, Hannah’s sacrifice, Jesus’ sacrifice, and largely, the offering of first fruit, tithe etc. This is where my post is centered on.
While I do not throw away the central tenet of your observation, which is centered on giving selflessly as an important aspect of Christianity, I must not fail to point out one interpretation of my post that I consider wrong.
Many, unfortunately yourself, called the gesture I did as “returning the offering.” This has become the center of the debate…it is from this very interpretation that you based your evaluation. This is why it is easy to ask questions like: Should the offering be returned? Assuming she put it in the box secretly without anyone knowing, how will it be returned? What about the widow that gave her all, no where were we told that it was returned??? Etc
In the way I see it, all these questions became necessary because the whole post was reduced to “the priest who returned the first fruit given to him.” the key word is “RETURN”.
When people bring to the priest bread and wine for the sacrifice of mass. After the sacrifice, the bread and wine is given back to them… But this time around it is seen as gift from God. The people come to receive it. It is no longer bread and wine. No one sees the action of the priest as returning the bread and wine to the people.
When Hannah made an offering of Samuel, God accepted him, anointed him as his minister and gave him back not just to the mother alone but to the entire Israel to serve. It was not seen as “returning Samuel” but a gift from God. Note that Hannah giving Samuel to God does not mean she stopped seeing him or stopped being the mother.
When the Bible talked about accepting the offering of Abel, it is not simply referring to a fact that God literally came down, took all the animals, fruits, etc that was offered and left the table empty. In fact, what we know is that, someone eats the sacrifice afterwards. But it is never seen as something that was returned.
The concept of “returning” something connote (though not entirely) that that very thing was not accepted.
In the case of the woman in my post, I never ever felt I was returning back to her what she gave to me. It was because I perceived that she may feel so, that was why I went on to explain to her using some examples in the bible on how God works. This part of the understanding of the scripture has been greatly ignored. I kept trying to make her see that the money has already been accepted right from when she started coming with the money to the Church. And I kept saying it emphatically, that the money she gave me as her entire salary has been transformed. And that what she is receiving from me is a gift from God. I told her never to see it as the salary she gave me.
I would have given it to someone else whom I judge to be in need, but at that time and in the context of our prayers, she before me, was the one that I judged to be in need.
Let me quickly add that that money became a foundation to her financial breakthrough today. She can now give times five of the same amount every month without even blinking.