“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Don’t Forget the Full-time Minister
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 18 verses 1–8
The Levitical priests and all the tribe of Levi shall have no part or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings made by fire to the Lord, and His rightful dues. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He promised them. 3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. 4 The firstfruits of your grain, of your new wine, and of your oil, and the first or best of the fleece of your sheep you shall give the priest. 5 For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name [and presence] of the Lord, him and his sons forever. 6 And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel where he is a temporary resident, he may come whenever he desires to [the sanctuary] the place the Lord will choose; 7 Then he may minister in the name [and presence of] the Lord his God like all his brethren the Levites who stand to minister there before the Lord. 8 They shall have equal portions to eat, besides what may come of the sale of his patrimony.
Deuteronomy 18:1-8 AMP
1. This sharing of God’s provision was not man’s idea but God’s idea
- Verse 1 says the priests should share in His bounty—they were to partake of the offerings brought to the Lord—His rightful dues
- Ministering before the Lord, on behalf of the people, was the priests’ full-time job
- If the people did not support them there was nothing else and no one else to sustain them
- Verse 3 says this would be the priests’ due from the people—it was the people’s duty to support the ministers
2. The priests were entitled to be blessed from the first fruits of the people
- The people brought their best stuff to the Lord and to the priests—the choicest parts of their animals, the first fruits of their grain, the new wine, the oil, the first and best of the fleece of their sheep
- This provision was not only for the priest, but for his sons and his family forever
- All priests were treated equally and provision was made for all—today, that would be the whole five-fold ministry—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers
Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
When the Lord divided up the Promised Land, He gave each tribe and each family a portion of it. However, He did not include the Levitical priesthood or their families. They were set apart unto the Lord’s work and would not have time to waste working the land, therefore, there was no way for them to be fed and kept unless the people brought the fruit of their labor to the house of God. God made it the responsibility of all those who were given land, to meet the needs of the priests. Each side supported and served the other.
It is still the same today. It is the minister’s responsibility to handle the Word of God honestly, and every other believer’s job to generously support those men and women of God who serve them in full-time ministry. Even Paul made tents for a season, but ministers—or their wives—should not need to work another job all the time, just to put food on the table, because the Church is disobedient. God’s order is for the minister’s needs to be met by those believers who work in the marketplace. If we all fulfill our purpose, submit to the Word of God, and joyfully do what God tells us to do, we will see the will of God manifested on the earth!
Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
It’s interesting that, in the day and age that we are living, that people in the full-time ministry always seem to come under more scrutiny and criticism for their income, than other people. It is as if the religious world has this idea: Lord, You keep them humble and we’ll keep them poor! I am not saying for one moment that there are not abuses that have not taken place on both sides: there is the minister, who is without integrity, but also the believer who will not obey God and give. Even though people do not always do as they should—still we must remember—that it was God who instituted this mutual dependence. It was not instituted by man as a way to extract money from people—it was instituted by God, in order that the needs of the ministry—and God’s servants—could be met.
We discussed an Old Testament passage above, but the New Covenant declares that those ministers who perform the duties of their office well, be considered doubly worthy of honor and of adequate financial support, especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17 AMP). Although I was not raised in a preacher’s home, we were around ministers all the time and we were taught, as children, to look after them, to take care of them, and to bless them. Still today, even though I am in the ministry myself, I have a love for full-time men and women of God, and a desire to bless them.
Prayer and Confession:
Father, Your word declares that if we receive and welcome and accept a prophet, because he is a prophet, we shall receive a prophet’s reward, and if we receive and welcome and accept a righteous man, because he is a righteous man, we shall receive a righteous man’s reward. You also said that if we give to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water, because he is Jesus’ disciple, that You would surely reward us (Matthew 10:41-42). Father, I thank You that my heart is right with You for I purpose to bless those who minister; I purpose to bless Your servants.