Yesterday, we looked at the instruction of Galatians 6:6-7 to financially support those who are the teachers/preachers of God's Word. To wrap up this issue, I want to take a quick look at the Old Testament Levitical tithe.
The tribe of Levi (one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Later renamed Israel) was designated by God as the ones who would be the priests. These priests were to minister the things of God to the nation of Israel. It was their responsibility to serve in this capacity and the other tribes were to support them by their tithing. “because I have given them the Israelites’ tithes, which have been presented as sacred offerings to the LORD. This will be the Levites’ share. That is why I said they would receive no allotment of land among the Israelites.””
Numbers 18:24 NLT
A tithe is by definition - a tenth part of something. There were three tithes in the Old Testament: Levitical (Priestly), Festival, and Poor. The Poor tithe was to be received every three years. The Jewish people were giving 22.3% annually of their first-fruit (best off the top - not left overs). God had structured the life of the Jewish people so that the ministry would stay the highest priority. Keeping God first is vital!!! We would do well to stop to consider the reality that God is the Creator and designer of Life. Since this is true, wouldn't it be senseless to ignore His instructions concerning ministry? God must be the foundation of all aspects of our lives. He isn't a part of our life, He is our life!!!!!!! It behoves us to give to the ministry in order for it to function at its peak potential. Imagine church at its best. Imagine every church being debt free, taking care of its ministers, celebrating Christ as a congregation of believers as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God, and reaching out to the poor with the love of Jesus. If we could find ourselves in that place, what an impact we could have in the world. After all, we do represent Jesus as His church. Don't you think it is time that the church rises up and shines in the midst of the darkness? How can we when we are keeping for ourselves what God intends for His kingdom work? We are living lavishly with overwhelming amounts of debt to the point that it is a stranglehold on our lives. All the while, the church stands financially impotent because we live in our selfishness. God, please wake us up. In Jesus name!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me be obedient in my giving. Forgive me of my selfishness. May I learn to trust You as my provider. Help me to recognize and remember that life is not about me, it's about You!!!
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Rev. Curtis Norris