“Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
Leviticus and Numbers detail the ongoing work of those God called to Israel’s priesthood. They were responsible for care of the tabernacle, including transporting, setting up, maintaining, and guarding it; they had to be consecrated, wear special clothes to make offerings, and keep the altar fire and lamps burning continuously. The priests offered twice-daily, daily, and other sacrifices, which involved explicit selection and handling of bulls, rams, goats, lambs, oxen, birds, and grain; they exercised spiritual leadership of the people, upholding both sacred and civic standards, discerning guilt and innocence, executing judgments. They were health and home inspectors. Theirs was not an enviable job.
So when the Lord commanded the taking and dividing of the Promised Land, He provided for the priests through the rest of Israel. Only the Levitical tribe would have no assigned territory; theirs was a specific calling that necessitated a ‘scattered presence.’ So God instructed, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in, and you shall give…[adjacent] pasturelands around the cities for their livestock. Each in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.” (Numbers 35:2-3)
In God’s design, since the onset of the church, people have given to support its work. As my father used to say, “The air conditioning needs to run.” Paul addresses sacrificial giving in many of his letters, commending gifts given to churches to supply needs and that partner with him as he ministers in God’s name, and promising God’s bounty back on those who give. (Philippians 4:14-20; 1 Timothy 6:17-19) Giving glorifies our Savior, Who gave His all for us. “God loves a cheerful giver. You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:7,11-12)
Lord, how beautiful is the institution of the church! Thank You for the faithful ones who have answered Your call and lead with unwavering commitment. Open my hands and heart that I may I give gratefully, gladly, and generously to support the church, Your living Body.