Pastor and author A. W. Tozer once observed, “As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor. It can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” Giving is an important topic that appears throughout the Old and New Testaments. But in Nehemiah 12 we are reminded that God’s people are to support spiritual leaders.
The musicians, gatekeepers, Levites, and descendants of Aaron were responsible for the functioning of the Lord’s Temple. In modern terms, we might compare them to the pastors and staff of the church. But there is a significant difference.
Ancient Israel was an agrarian society, so their livelihood was tied to their ability to cultivate land. That means you had to own land to cultivate. That’s where the difficulty lies—the tribe of Levi (the priests and Levites) owned no land, for “the LORD is their inheritance” (Deut. 10:9). With no land to produce their income, they had to rely on the gifts and offerings of the rest of Israel to provide for them and their families. God’s people were instructed to give, so that their need would be fully met.
The New Testament also teaches the importance of giving. We are to provide for “the elders who direct the affairs of the church” (1 Tim. 5:17). If our shepherds are to have time and mental space to care well for their flock, we should give generously to support them.
>> Do you support the ministry of your local church, pastors, or missionaries? One way we can use our money for good is to invest in God’s work. Consider how you can invest in eternity by supporting those who are committed to vocational ministry.
Lord, as we strive to steward our resources wisely, help us stay open for opportunities to give. Whether we are relatively wealthy or poor, may we be cheerful givers. It is a privilege to be part of Your work in this way!