By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte
Nehemiah 12:44-47 (NASB)
44 On that day men were also appointed over the chambers for the supplies, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions required by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who served. 45 For they performed the worship of their God and the service of purification, together with the singers and the gatekeepers in accordance with the command of David and of his son Solomon. 46 For in the days of David and Asaph, in ancient times, there were leaders of the singers, songs of praise and songs of thanksgiving to God. 47 So all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah gave the portions due the singers and the gatekeepers as each day required, and they set apart the consecrated portion for the Levites, and the Levites set apart the consecrated portion for the sons of Aaron.
As we look back at chapter 12, we saw an amazing picture of the dedication of the walls around Jerusalem. All of the people formed two choruses that walked along the top of, as well as encircled the city walls. Worshipers reveled in song and dance while priests offered sacrifices and purified the people.
Today’s passage wraps up the chapter with a praise to those who serve as well as a call to set apart the due portion to all whose work is unto the Lord. As I look at what this might mean for us today, my biggest takeaway is to set apart a portion of everything I have, including myself to service.
Several passages in Leviticus as well as all throughout the Old Testament speak of tithes as well as the many types of offerings, and while we do not live under the Levitical system of sacrifice and offering, I believe God is calling us to a higher level of giving, which is from the heart. King David so eloquently spoke about God’s desire of a broken and contrite heart when it comes to our offerings to the Almighty.
Psalm 51:16-18 (NASB)
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, God, You will not despise.
Every January, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I ask God how he wants me to start my year with intention for Him. A couple of years ago, He had me tithe a portion of my day to for a tenth of the year to Him. Therefore, for the first 36 days of the year, I spent 2.4 hours of each day in prayer, and or service in some way.
The main thing I believe God wants is for us is to set ourselves apart, and to set apart our giving to others in a way that is intentional, that will help further the gospel, and is from the heart.
Galatians 1:15 (NASB)
But when He who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace was pleased
What can we learn from Nehemiah?
· Make sure those who are actively serving in ministry are able to take care of their own needs
· Make sure I am a good steward of my own giving
· Whether it is time, money or other resources, if God has blessed me, He has done it so I may be a blessings to others
· If I am in a place of want yet serving Him, trust God that He will take care of my needs, and that His care may not look how I expect.
Isaiah 50:3-5 (NASB)
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.” 4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, so that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. 5 The Lord God has opened My ear, and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.
What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?
- What can I do to be a better steward of what I have been given, including my time?
- How can I live a life of gratitude for what I have?
- What is God asking me to do to serve others today?
- How can I help others fulfill their calling?
- In what area of my life do I need to set apart and be intentional so I can fulfill what God has called me to do?