- Renewing People
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The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil to the storerooms, where the articles for the sanctuary and for the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the musicians are also kept. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” – Nehemiah 10:39 (NIV)
The Old Testament Law is full of commands related to tithes and offerings. Not unlike tithes and offerings, today, these went to support God’s work and those who performed God’s work. In the above passage, the people renewed their promise to see that the work did not suffer because they failed to give.
Many say that the concept of tithing is legalistic and comes from the Old Testament. Even though the Old Testament is still a part of the Word of God, I never argue their point because the New Testament standard is actually much higher. The New Testament standard is 100%.
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32 (NLT)
Getting back to Nehemiah, however, the important question for us is: Are we neglecting the house of God?
We never hide the fact that doing the work of the church is a costly proposition. It takes money to share the gospel, train youth and children in the faith, help you to grow spiritually, and share the love of Christ with the community.
We also never hide the fact that you and I are the ones God has called on to supply the need funds. It really is up to you and me. So, we need to examine our own giving to see if there is any way we are neglecting “the house of God.”
While the passage from Nehemiah indeed deals with the ongoing work of “the house of our God,” for those of us who are followers of Christ, it also has a deeper meaning.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV)
Often, we look around the sanctuary and think of it as “God’s House;” a place where God lives. Certainly, God could live in our sanctuary if He wanted to, but I really don’t think He does. Why? Because, if you are a believer, God lives inside of you by His Spirit.
So, in addition to caring for the ongoing needs of the physical church, we need to also be concerned about the care of our own living, breathing, temple in which God lives. How about the “rooms” inside of us where God dwells? What condition are they in?