FINANCING THE WORK OF THE LORD
Date: February 22
"And you may eat it in every place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your service in the Tent of Meeting. And you shall be guilty of no sin by reason of it when you have lifted out and held back the best of it; neither shall you have polluted the holy things of the Israelites, neither shall you die [because of it]."
In this passage, the Lord teaches about the offerings that the Israelites had to bring. Ten percent of all the offerings went to the Levites. The Levites were a special tribe chosen to serve the Lord. Then ten percent of all that the Levites received went to the priests. And the priests took from that offering.
In verse 30 we read, "…When you have lifted out and held back the best from it [and presented it to the Lord by giving it to yourselves, the Levites], then it shall be counted to [you] the Levites just as if it were the increase of the threshing floor or of the winepress."
So the Israelites were to give the best part of their increase to the Levites. Then the Levites were to give the best part of what they received to the priests. What the priests receive is considered their reward for their service.
It says in verse 32a, "And you shall be guilty of no sin by reason of it when you have lifted out and held back the best of it…" So the priests didn't have to feel guilty for taking that offering nor did they have to feel polluted, the Bible says.
We, as givers, can learn from this passage as well. If we don't tithe and give offering, then we will pollute ourselves and become guilty in the sight of God. Actually in Malachi 3:8, it says that if we hold back our tithe and offerings, we are robbing God of what belongs to Him. So 10% of all our increase belongs to the Lord. And the priest, the minister of the Gospel, has the right, the privilege and the responsibility to take of that offering.
So 10% of your income belongs to the Lord and out of that money, the work of God is funded in order to continue. Everything costs money these days. A church building, for example, is very costly – the hydro, electricity, pastor, secretary, etc. All of those things cost money. The same way it takes money to run a church, it takes money to run a ministry as well. If a ministry wants to help the poor, it costs money to buy them food, clothing, medicine, and shelter.
If ministers of the Gospel didn't take of that offering, then the church or ministry wouldn't be able to run. So in this passage, the Lord's people are encouraged to give and the priests are encouraged to take. The Apostle Paul said that those who preach from the Gospel should live from the Gospel. In other words, ministers of the Gospel should have enough to support their families and do the work of the Lord.
If you are a minister, you get paid for the work of the Lord from the tithe. If you're not a minister, you've got to pay your tithe into that work. The Lord's work has been organized in that way. It's so important that we all obey God's Word and do our part to ensure that this Gospel gets preached.