Tithing is always a sore topic to bring up. It seems whenever the “T” word is mentioned, people grab hold of their wallets, slide down in their seats, and contemplate why they should not open up their wallet because they don’t want anyone to catch a glimpse of what is inside. Many times the “T” word causes people to consider the church always “wants more of my money.” Some people might consider on what the church is using the tithed money.
In Nehemiah 13, we read about what happened to the Levites and the singers who did not receive the portion commanded by God. When Nehemiah returned to his duties for the king as cupbearer, the Israelites no longer gave the commanded portion and the Levites had to return back to their fields. This basically meant that the Levites, who were supposed to care for the Temple, had to leave their duties to take care of themselves. This is not how God designed everything to work out.
This saddens me. God commanded the people to take care of the Levites as they serve the Temple of God. The people dropped the ball and left the Levites to fend for themselves. There is great importance in taking care of God’s house. For us, things are different. We don’t have a Temple like back in Nehemiah’s days. Instead we have two very important items of great significance of which need provisions and care. We have our bodies, which is what houses the Holy Spirit. We also have our local church. It is important that we care for both; treat your body as a temple of God and remember that yes, God doesn’t need your tithe, but you need your tithe. Why? Because by tithing, you are giving God back what He has given you. You are worshiping Him rather than worshiping things. You are fixing your eyes on the Creator and King, rather than on temporary. It is a joy to give. It is a blessing to give. Give abundantly and watch what happens.
“I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.” – Nehemiah 13:10 [ESV]
Organization is often a problem in life—or should I say disorganization is the problem? For a family to function, for a workplace to function, for a ministry or church to function, organization is very important. Along with this is communication. If you look at struggling relationships, struggling marriages and struggling churches, many times one of the top problems is a lack of communication or a problem with disorganization.
When Nehemiah was leading the people back to godly living, he got everything organized. From the very beginning, he walked around and made notes. I think his organization is one reason I’ve always been drawn to him for I am a bit OCD at times. One of the items he organized included the list for the priests and Levites. He wanted to be sure everyone knew what their job was so they could be focused and get the job done.
In your home, does everyone know their responsibilities and stick to them or is one person carrying the ship? At your work, does everyone understand their job description and requirements or are people micromanaging or slacking off? At church, do you know what area to serve or are you spread out thin like scraping the last out of the butter tub? Nehemiah made sure each man knew his job. Today, write down your job for work, home, church, etc. Make a list and if unsure, ask questions. When you do this, you can find out if you are doing too much, if you are spread thin, and what areas you could put forth more effort. You can do this!
“All in all I cleansed them from everything foreign. I organized the orders of service for the priests and Levites so that each man knew his job. I arranged for a regular supply of altar wood at the appointed times and for the firstfruits.
Remember me, O my God, for good.”
-Nehemiah 13:30-31 [MSG]
When Hezekiah was speaking to the Levites, the people chosen by God to be set apart for God’s work, he was set on purifying the Temple. After years of neglect the Temple doors were opened, repairs were made and the Levites were prepared. Hezekiah said to them, “This is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.”
None of us have this same job position as the Levites, but it doesn’t mean we should not do it well. We all have a position, a title, whether it be banker, homemaker, doctor, cashier, salesman, teacher, customer service representative, janitor, etc. We all have a position.
Colossians 3 says that whatever we do, we do it for God. Whatever we do. Everything. Do it all for God’s glory. Paul again wrote in 1 Corinthians to do it all for the glory of God. So again and again we read about doing things and doing them well—about doing everything for the glory of God. Today, no matter what you are assigned to do, no matter what position you hold, “do it and do it well.” You are there for a reason—shine the light and make the best of it!
“I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with us. Children, don’t drag your feet in this! God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship—this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.”
-2 Chronicles 29:10-11 [MSG]
Jehoshaphat was deeply committed to the Lord and His ways. He showed this in many ways. He removed the pagan shrines. He removed the Asherah poles. But he didn’t stop there. He gathered his officials, the Levites, and others, and sent them off with copies of the Book of the Law. They went traveling around through all of the town of Judah. They were teaching the people the Law.
If we are deeply committed to the Lord, we will follow His commands and we will attempt to remove the bad things in our lives. We slowly transform by the power of Christ, by the Word of God. But we aren’t simply to be deeply committed to growing in Christ in our own lives. There should be an overflowing that reaches others.
Jehoshaphat was in a position to send the Levites, his officials, and a group of others to teach. He had that within his power due to his position. He not only had them travel with the copies but also to teach them to the people in ALL the towns of Judah. That’s a lot of towns. Today, what are you in a position to do? Are you committed or are you deeply committed? You might say you do not have the power to take the message of Jesus very far; however, remember that this isn’t on your power but through His power. Don’t limit what can be done. By His power, you may only be starting a great work. Let us reach the finish line of this great race. I pray you all will be deeply committed.
“He was deeply committed to the ways of the LORD. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah. They took copies of the Book of the Law of the LORD and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people.” – 2 Chronicles 17:6, 9 [NLT]