Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 18.1-2
1 The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them.
Reflection: Tithe In Love, Not Guilt
By Laura Hamilton Hui
“I’m a pastor’s kid, so we moved a lot.”
I hear this response all the time when I ask a pastor or missionary’s kid where they’re from. Ministry families can often feel nomadic, moving every few years to follow God’s call to the next ministry assignment—often leaving extended family far behind.
When the Israelites portioned out the Promised Land among the twelve tribes, the priests and their families (the Levites) weren’t included. Instead, they were scattered across 48 cities, ministering to the people and taking care of the ark of the covenant.
In that time and culture, feeding a family required land. Because the Levites didn’t have land to farm and raise livestock, God provided for their needs through the sacrifices of Israel: portions of meat, grain, wine, oil, and wool (Deuteronomy 18.3-4). And as a trade-off, the Levites were free to serve God with full devotion.
Ministry today can look similar.
Pastors and missionaries are dependent on the tithes and offerings of church members to provide for their needs so they can dedicate their time to ministry. Big churches may pay well, but most churches are small and many ministry families live on tight budgets. Many ministry families feel the financial strain and are also struggling relationally as they live far from their extended family.
Yes, God provided for the Levites, but notice how he provided—through the people of God.
God provides for ministry families today the same way—through us. We often think of our tithes and offerings as gifts to God, which is true! But our gifts to God also directly provide for the needs of our ministers and their families. By tithing, we give our ministers the freedom to dedicate their time to serving God and the people of our church.
Love your pastor’s family well. Chances are, they’re sacrificing finances, family, and comfort to serve the church. Tithe consistently. Invite ministry families over for dinner. Become their family.
If you’re a minister, remember that God sees the needs of you and your family. Ministry is a sacrifice, but the Levites considered the Lord their inheritance. We have a similar privilege, and God is faithful to provide as we are faithful to Him. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6.10).
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. — Psalm 92.12
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Work, Ministry, and Generosity
Generosity transforms our work into an instrument for cultivating faith—planting seeds for the spreading of the gospel of Christ.
Read more about Whole Life Generosity
Christian generosity is not merely passively giving a portion of our income as if we were being taxed by a government.