Ituah Ighodalo, the senior pastor of Trinity House Church, has stated that church leaders are entitled to receive the first salary of their members.
He shared this perspective during an interview with Punch, discussing tithes, harvests, and the concept of first fruits.
According to him, the first fruit represents the initial offering obtained when embarking on a new venture.
Ighodalo emphasized that the first fruit is meant for the pastors of the church, highlighting that failure to give this could result in loss of harvests and subsequent struggles.
He said: “The first fruit is the first of the offerings that you get in the course of the harvest year or when you begin a new venture. Exodus chapter 23 verse 16 says, ‘The feast of harvest, the first fruit of your labour, which you have sown in the field’. Traditionally, in biblical times, when you get into a new field, you plant corn, yam, barley, or wheat.
“At the end of the planting season, when the food has grown, there will be a first set of harvest that comes out from the ground. It may be three, four, or a whole sheaf. The very first set of harvest you get, you gather them together and you go and give them as an offering unto the Lord, as an acknowledgment that He made the ground to yield for you.
“It is an offering of thanks and appreciation. What the Bible says is that if you do that and you put God first, the rest of your harvest will not fail and everything else that needs to come out of the ground for you during the harvest season will come out.
“In those days, you could plant and then after a while, new dew of locust, blight, or wrong climate may kill the rest of the harvest and not allow it to grow. But once you give God the first of the harvest, then He’s duty-bound to protect the rest of the harvest, which is now yours. That explains the first fruit.”
Speaking of who and where the tithes should be channeled to, Ituah said: “The tithes and the first fruit belong to the priests; that is God’s way of compensating them for their commitment and dedication to the work of God. So when you pay your tithe, your tithe goes to sort out the welfare of the priests; both the high priest, the priest, and the sons of Levi, the musicians, and all that. They share it among themselves and they pay their tithe or first fruits to the high priest.
“These days, the money goes to the church primarily, which was what it was then, and then the church will divide it among its people as it deems fit. Some may go to the priests, Levites, welfare cases, the poor, or church building and enforcement. That is how it generally is. What you do is that you’re giving it to God and God is giving it to his people.
“Those who do not pay first fruit run the risk of losing the rest of their harvest or not being able to get the right quantum of harvest that they should have got had they paid the first fruit. Therefore, you find them struggling. If your land is supposed to have given you a thousand tubers of yam, if you get your first harvest and you don’t pay that first harvest to God, instead of getting 1,000 tubers, you may just get 200. It means that you don’t have enough to do what you want to do. And if you now get the 200 and you don’t pay your tithe, instead of getting that 200, they may be spoiled. Rain may fall or disaster may happen and you lose that money even after you’ve earned it.
He added: “So one thing is earning the money, and the second thing is keeping the money. So that’s the risk you run, especially when you say you’re born again, you’ve given your life to Jesus Christ, and you want to serve God. You have a covenant with God to obey Him. If you’re serving another master like the devil or whatever, he will also bless you and you don’t have to meet all those obligations.
“Although sometimes even those blessings too, there are obligations that they may not tell you. It may not be recorded like the first fruit. What it means is that it’ll also add sorrow. It is the blessings of God that maketh rich and added no sorrow to it. So a lot of blessings that people who are not of God get also come with a bit of sorrow and at the end of the day, they may lose their child, their child falls sick or it gives them problems here and there.”