God's Provision for the Journey!

Written by Founder Raul Rivera on Jul 09, 2009 in Pastoral Helps

A journey of sacrifice

During the 19 years that I have been in ministry, my admiration for pastors and ministry leaders continues to grow.  They have chosen a life of self sacrifice, service and intercession so that others may come to know the true riches of God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ.  This journey of sacrifice often requires that they give up many comforts that seem basic and they do it for extended periods of time.  They are like the Levites and Priests; living each day trusting in God's provision.  In Phillipians, chapter 4, the apostle Paul said that he knew how to be content with whatever he had. He knew how to live on almost nothing or with everything. He learned the secret of living in every situation.  Paul's mindset flies in the face of today's self-preserving attitudes.  Paul never had to worry about how, when or where God would provide for his needs. 

God's economy for the Levites and priests

On the foundation of God's provision, my study of the economy of Israel for the Levites and priests brought me to the book of Numbers and Nehemiah.  In these two books we find that the people were censused three times. Census information revealed that before the crossing of the Jordan, there were 26 working men over the age of twenty for every Levite that was one month old and older (Num 1:46, 3:39).  Forty years later, the census reveals the spread to be 27:1 (Num 26:51, 62).  After the exile, the spread was approximately 34:1 (Neh 7).  Additionally, just before crossing the Jordan, the Lord commanded the children of Israel to give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and to also give them common-land around the cities.  The cities were for them to dwell in; and the common-land was for all their herd animals.  What amazed me about this passage was that many believe that because the Levites had no inheritance, they lived only by the tithes and offerings brought to them by the children of Israel.  But, when one looks at this passage again, a greater plan reveals itself.  Thirty-eight cities were apportioned to the Levites among all of the tribes of Israel.  Each town had common pasture land that the Levites could use for their cattle, and all of their animals.  I believe that these pasture lands created an opportunity for the Levites to multiply their animals and to create additional revenues for their own support.  The wise use of tithes, offerings, dedicated houses and animals (Num 27) provided additional support for the Levites.  This required them to learn about financial multiplication and ensured their continued ability to remain in the ministry.  Throughout the Old Testament, you will find occasions where Levites and priests were able to sell off lands, houses and other animals as additional means of support (Num 27). 

Watch how God can provide

What does the story of the Levites mean to the average pastor struggling to make his or her church grow?  I believe that every person that feels called to be a full time or part time minister should have a goal of setting aside a portion of their income, whether it be from the ministry or tent making, for the purpose of multiplication, regardless of how little it might be.  It may seem hard or impossible, but I believe that the Lord will make a way for it to be done.  Even if they start with a very small portion, their faithfulness over time will pay off.  The Lord will show Himself faithful to give them insightful ideas that will cause their portion to grow and grow so that it provides sufficient sources of income for the ministry, for giving and for their own personal prosperity.  I know of a pastor that started with thirty dollars and, over a period of 30 years, grew it to the point that the interest is enough now to completely support him if he wanted.  The Lord in His goodness will always find a way to keep those that feel called to the ministry.  In you journey of self sacrifice, you too, will see His hand provide through paths that were originally not on the map.

Blessings!

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Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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