Leviticus 23:20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest.
I had known it as a fact before, but it really struck me just now that the majority of offerings in the temple, though given to the Lord and holy to Him, were for the priests. How the priests used those things was their responsibility, since they were indeed holy to the Lord. That puts a very interesting slant on preachers who live opulent lifestyles. They are responsible to God for their stewardship, but the money that was given to them was for the most part really given to God, and those giving it are blessed by God. However, I would hate to be in the shoes of some of those preachers when they have to answer to God for what has been placed in their hands. The complete statement of, “They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest,” is the real kicker here. Any “full-time Christian worker” who is careless with with what they are paid for their service needs to do some real self-examination.
This of course applies to me, since I am a pastor, but at the same time my income from the church, being less than what I give the church in my own offerings, is of no concern at tax time. I have had someone be shocked when they discovered that I tithe even what I receive from the church. However, I don’t see how I could do otherwise. I certainly don’t think I live a lavish lifestyle, but people in general think we are better off financially than we actually are, because God has been gracious to us in many, many ways. I’ve gotten some pretty remarkable things out of the trash! What I take from this verse is that I am in no way to feel guilty for receiving things from people who give them because I am a pastor. Those things are offerings to the Lord, and holy, and my refusing them would be wrong on my part. Just yesterday I received a package of rather expensive dietary supplements from someone who wants the pastor to be healthy! I would not have chosen to purchase them, but they are an offering to the Lord, and as such are holy. I delight to act as God’s agent, speaking His words and extending His hand of grace, so I must not shrink from allowing people to respond to me with offerings. At the same time, I must never put a price on my service to the Lord, or be greedy in any way. The moment I do that, I lose all credit before the Lord.
Father, this can be a complicated issue, and one I really don’t like to wrestle with. Thank You for Your abundant supply, given in many different ways. May I be the steward You want me to be, so that everything that goes through my hands, physically or otherwise, may accomplish that for which You intend it, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!