In the Old Testament, as today, it is difficult for people to spend time gaining a livelihood and, at the same time, carry out the complete work of the ministry. To resolve this issue, the Lord designated the tribe of Levi to carry out this responsibility for the other eleven tribes. Today our pastoral staff serves us in this capacity. In Deuteronomy 18:3–5 we find instructions for the eleven tribes to take care of the physical needs of the tribe of Levi. “And this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice . . . for the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the LORD . . .” Again in Nehemiah 10:39 instruction is given for the priests, called to serve, to be remunerated by those whom they are called to serve. Our giving should therefore include contributions to our local church so it can effectively carry out its ministry.
Consideration should also be given to people who are in need. Deuteronomy 26:12, Proverbs 19:17 and Matthew 25:31–46 focus on the importance of helping those who are without substance.
Ministries that evangelize, congregate, disciple, and provide physical assistance to people groups to whom we cannot personally minister might also be a part of our giving. We have been called to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” in Mark 16:15. Men and women are needed to travel to other countries, minister to and share the gospel message with the local populace. This ministry and the funding of personnel needed to support these efforts can best be accomplished through the resources provided by God’s people.
Our role in the work of the Lord takes many forms. Our responsibility as followers of Christ is to look to the Scriptures and prayerfully seek guidance as we designate tithes and offerings to the many endeavors that make up our Lord’s ministry.
Content is derived in part Bryce Bartruff's book, God, Your Money and You (CrossLink Publishing).