We can learn how to get Christian workers back to work from that cup-bearer, Nehemiah-turned-Administrator in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah had his ‘hands full.’ He was in charge or restoration and rebuilding in Jerusalem. Then he learned that the food resources that should be – were not given to the Levites. They were the tribe assigned to tabernacle – then temple – duty. They were to serve there on behalf of all of Israel as God had ordained back in the desert, when He gave Moses instructions for building and managing the Tabernacle. The Levites were to serve there full-time and to be supported by the tithes and offerings brought in by the other tribes.
When Nehemiah learned that the Levites and the singers were leaving their posts in the House of the Lord, and going back to their villages to work their fields – (they had to feed their families somehow, right?) – he knew it was time for an executive decision.
We read in Nehemiah 13:10-13 that Nehemiah rebuked the officials for allowing the House of God to be neglected. He called the Levites together and got them back to work at their posts.
I don’t see that Nehemiah made any big public announcement, but the officials he had rebuked must have done what they were suppose to do because in the next verse we read, “All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms.” Then he assigned Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah to be in charge of the storerooms. He made Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant.
How nice to read the next phrase, “. . . Because these men were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their brothers.” That’s what it takes to run something like that; trustworthy people looking after the management.
So what principle can we find here for how to get support for your present-day ministry in a Biblical way?
First, it is rather obvious, isn’t it – that if God’s people are faithful in giving their tithes to the Lord – aka our local church, then the servants of the Lord will have their expenses and living for their families covered. God’s plan is not flawed.
The problem is with the people who do not obey God’s command. Doing that would be how to get Christian workers back to work.
Now, there are those who argue that today we are not held to the Old Testament commands. Maybe not in a legalistic way, but common sense shows that God’s principles still hold true. We ought to support our fellow believers who are serving the Lord full-time. If all of us who are part of a Church body (which means we are part of the Body of Christ, the Church universal) were to simply bring in a tithe of our income every week, we would not lack for our pastoral staff, education and childrens’ ministries, benevolent works in the community and even sending missionaries to other places that have not heard the gospel.
Maybe what we need now is an administrative person like Nehemiah to call attention to this, and put the Christian workers to work. Then if those who who are in authority will announce that this is how it is to be done.
Those who are in ministry work in the church or on a new field, – we can pray that God will convict the people and cause them to give.He has the power and knows how to get the Christian workers back to work.