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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 14, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

 

Daily Reading: Joshua 12-15

 

Joshua 13:14

Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.

 

The Levite tribe of Israel was the priestly tribe. The priests that served the people and the Lord in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, were supposed to be Levites. As such, they received no land as an inheritance. Their inheritance, meaning the manner in which they could provide for their personal needs, was obtained in and through the sacrifices made by the Israelites. In the day and age in which these words were written the very act of survival, just providing for one’s needs for survival was a full-time job. Whether it was farming, raising livestock, or cultivating vineyards, it took land and much hard, arduous and time-consuming work to carve out a living.

 

The Levites were also busy. The work of the Tabernacle, and then the Temple took time, an inordinate amount of time. Time to study the Law of God, time to perform all the rites of sacrifice, time to teach the people the laws of God, time to repair the furniture, structure, dishes, and other physical aspects of the Tabernacle/Temple. They, the Levites, had no time left to care for flocks, bring in a harvest, or any of the other work that it would take to provide for their families. So, God designed a way to care for the Levites. They would live of the sacrifices made to the Lord God. This was their inheritance.

 

“That is all well and good preacher, but what does that have to do with us today?”  Glad you asked, or this would have been a very short devotion. Today, largely, God’s plan to care for the temporal needs of a pastor and the ministerial staff of a church is largely the same but with some differences. One difference is that pastors (let’s just deal with the pastor of a local Bible believing church) are not Levites. They are called out of all walks of life, out of every social setting, and every race. Their first requirement is to be born again of the Spirit of God. Frankly, God calls many, few accept that call and fulfill it with all they have. These that are called give up the opportunity to earn a living in the day-to-day world of earthly commerce. Some do, they are “bi-vocational” meaning they work a secular job also, but these are almost exclusively I would say in small churches. Larger churches need much work to be done by their pastor. Oversight of the buildings, the business of the church, the training of workers, outreach, ministering to the saints, study, study, and more study, then preaching, moderating the services, planning the calendar, on and on we could go. These men, under the leadership of Christ, who is to be the head of every church, must be multi-talented, blessed with a high level of energy, and yet who know to stop and spend time with God which is vital to get the job done on a spiritual level.

 

Many today think that preachers should not be paid for their labor in the church. Wherein should the pastor earn a living and still do all that they do for the church? Should the government pay them? Should they just be poor and wait for money to fall upon them from heaven? Would you work at your job for long if your employer did not pay you? God’s plan to provide for those who work for Him by serving the people of faith has always basically been the same. Those who benefit from the men of God should “communicate” with them, meaning take care of them financially. The Levites inherited a portion of the sacrifices given to the Lord. Today pastors inherit a portion of the sacrificial offerings given to their church. That is if the church is able to do so by having enough members of faith that give liberally, faithfully and Biblically to their church.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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