Tithe In Love, Not Guilt

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.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 18 (Listen 3:08)
2 Corinthians 11 (Listen 4:46)

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.

Why Do We Need the Leading of the Spirit? :: Throwback Thursday

Psalm 105.1-4
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Reflection:  Why Do We Need the Leading of the Spirit? :: Throwback Thursday
By Thomas Jacomb (1622–1687)

The leading of the Spirit—O, how highly necessary is it! Who can be without it?

What becomes of the poor blind man that has none to guide him? Of the weak child that has none to uphold it? Alas! the poor sinner, in both respects, does more need the Spirit’s leading inwardly, than either of these need external leading.

Such is our spiritual blindness—our aptness to wander, our ignorance of our way, our liableness to fall down. Without a divine hand to guide us, we are lost. Such, too, is our spiritual debility and weakness, as that, if the Spirit of God do not hold us up in our going, “taking us by our arms,” we fall immediately. How absolutely necessary, therefore, is the Spirit’s leading, both for direction and also for sustentation!

Christian prudence, caution, and circumspection, is our duty; but do we lay the stress of our confidence upon that? “The steps of our strength shall be straightened, and our own counsel shall cast us down.” So long as you think [that] you can go by yourself, the Spirit will not take you by the hand to lead you.

Would you have him to lead you? O, let your trust and reliance be upon him; and see that you renounce all confidences in yourselves. He who thinks he has wisdom or grace enough in himself to “order his conversation aright,” shall never find the Spirit to be a guide to him.

Pray much for this grace of the Spirit. How much was David in prayer to God for this!

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me.”
“Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness; make thy way straight before my face.”
“For thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
“Lead me in the way everlasting.”
“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
O, what a desirable mercy is this leading mercy! Will you not every day make this your request?

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. — Psalm 86.4

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 18 (Listen – 3:08) 
Psalm 105 (Listen – 4:02) 

Thank You!
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Read more about Unfathomable Love
We must “honor the Son, even as we honor the Father;” and we must love the Father, as we love the Son.

Read more about The Necessity of The Spirit
We need the Spirit in our lives not because our skills, our wealth, and our influence cannot accomplish things of significance, but because what is truly significant is often hidden.