Numbers: the book of the Bible that we can easily overlook because it's, well, numbers. It seems to be filled with stories of a bunch of whiny Israelites that wander all over the desert in an unprogressive fashion. About two million Hebrews all have an opinion of where they should go, and how they should live. However, there are many hidden gems in this book that can unexpectedly grab your attention. In my opinion, Numbers 18 is one of the most unacknowledged passages in the Books of the Law.
In chapter 17, God makes Aaron's staff bud almond sprouts. This doesn't just make Aaron look like Radagast from Lord of the Rings; it also sets apart the entire tribe of Levi to be servants of the tabernacle. Why the tribe of Levi? Remember in Exodus 32 when Israel insisted on worshipping a big golden bovine. When Moses saw this, he stood at the entrance of the camp and asked who was with the Lord and who wasn't. The entire tribe of Levi gathered to his side, and as a result of their faithfulness, were given a calling and a blessing. First, they received a special calling to serve the priests in the tabernacle, and second, given a blessing of a tithe received from the people of Israel. They would give the first fruits of their labour and the firstborn of their herds.
The fruits that were first harvested were often used to seed next year's crops, and the firstborn animals were to procreate the next generation of animals. In the same way, we are to bless our church leadership with the best we have, our first fruits and firstborn, so to speak. This is one of the most relevant points in this chapter! Give to God what you have now. Do not wait until you are rich like Bill Gates! In my 19 years on this planet, I'm amazed by the number of times I have heard people waiting until they are in a "sustainable" place financially to tithe. Practice giving now, so it's a habit in the future.
Giving to the church also allows our pastors to tithe. That's right, "a tithe of the tithe" (Num 18:28). When filtered through the church, our offerings have the potential to bless our pastors, our congregants and might come right back to you.
Congregant, devoted youth leader of Grade 6 boys