Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89
Read a previous post from this passage – “The City of Refuge”
Read the “Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them. And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts.” – (Numbers 35:2-3)
When the children of Israel went in to possess the land that God had given them in Canaan, all of the tribes received a fair portion of the property. However, one tribe, Levi, was not given a section of the country as the other tribes were. Instead, God commanded the other eleven tribes to each give up portions of their territory to be used for cities for the tribe of Levi to live in. The entire congregation of Israel would be responsible for providing a place for the Levites to stay in. Remember, the tribe of Levi was made up of the priests, as well as the men that were responsible for transporting and serving in the tabernacle (and later the Temple). The Levites could not provide for their own families as the other tribes could, because they were busy serving in the ministry. Not only did the other tribes provide them with a place to stay, but they were also responsible to take care of their other material needs.
The same principle applies today. God’s people are responsible to do whatever they can in order to make sure that the people that minister to them are provided for. A preacher that has to work in a secular vocation will simply not be able to do as much for the Lord as one who does not. However, there is also a danger in some cases for preachers to get lazy when they are completely provided for, and when there is little accountibility. I personally know of a few full-time servants who accomplish little with the abundance of time they have available to them. I guess the bottom line to this thought is that the people in the church should do everything that they can do to meet the needs of the preacher and his family, but the preacher must also realize that even though he does not have a human boss watching over him, he must stay busy and work hard for the cause of Christ. And, because he is not in it for compensation (“not for filthy lucre” – 1 Peter 5:2), he must be willing to do whatever is needed in order to effectively minister to God’s flock whether he is paid or not. God will ultimately care for his needs anyway, regardless of whether or not the church can.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” – (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? … Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” – (1 Corinthians 9:11, 13-14)
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.