Feeding 5000 – The Tithe For His Own

Posted on December 28, 2014

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This is the third message from the story of the feeding of five thousand. Today I will be showing a common pattern of God, taking care of His own through the tithe and other similar patterns.

Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Why Twelve Baskets?

Just as there were five loaves and two fish for a reason, there were twelve baskets for a reason as well. The twelve baskets actually is the easier number to do something with, since we have the same number of disciples.  If God had sovereignly decided to divide five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand, he also sovereignly made enough extra to care for his own disciples.

The Myth of Ministers Living Solely By Faith for Provision

God gives us rules and patterns to follow that never change from the Old Testament to the New Testament and one of these rules or patterns is the multitude taking care of the full time ministers.

Numbers 18: 20 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Tithing pre-dates the law in the Bible by over five hundred years and is not just a statute of the law but a timeless pattern of how God expects his ministers to be cared for.  Under the Levitical Law is just one place where this statute is explained as a pattern for us to follow.  God blesses the multitude and a portion of their blessing is given to the full time ministers so that they can remain full time in their service for the Lord. Three times of which two are in the New Testament God gives us the pattern of not muzzling the ox that treads out the corn. How cruel it would be that ox had to live by faith just hoping he would get some food, likewise it would be cruel of God to almost punish those that give their lives to full-time ministry to wonder where their provision would come from.  The ox was to freely browse amongst the corn he was working within and God gives us this same pattern at the feeding of the five thousand as a basket of food is taken up for each of his disciples after they served the people.  The task of being a full time minister is a great enough task on its own and to add to it like has been often been done by American Christianity that minister had to worry about feeding and housing his family also is not God heart or pattern that He set up in the Bible.

Living By Faith for Provision, A Slap In the Face

Isaiah prophesied it and Paul wrote to Timothy describing a time when things that are wrong shall be called right and the reverse as well and the provision for ministers is one of those items.  More ministries and denominations today practice a faith walk for personal provision for ministers than those teaching and practicing giving as written in the Word. How many gullible young ministers have lost everything when told this lie and they attempted to live by faith in full time ministry within a modern church that is often not taught to tithe and give offerings or a church where the tithe was used to pay for a building instead of support its ministers. No matter what common American church traditions are about the support of ministers, the Bible is the final authority.

Provide Neither Gold, Nor Silver, Nor Brass In Your Purses

The exceptions or maybe not. Jesus sent out twelve and told them not to take any provisions so was Jesus telling them to live by faith? One thing the disciples were never recorded as saying was “We are so hungry; people just wouldn’t give to us.”  The multitude that the disciples ministered to supported their needs as Jesus predicted.  That culture was a culture where ministers were respected and valued more than today and they knew the pattern of giving of the tithes and offerings for ministers and ministry. One might quote the story of Elijah being provided for by ravens or by the widow as a minister living by faith and not the tithe and you would be right.  Elijah was a major exception in every way. During Elijah’s time, prophets such as him were being killed and not supported by the tithe at all.  The entire kingdom of Israel and the ten northern tribes was mostly living in a non-biblical life style is why God had to provide supernaturally for Elijah and others at times.  These are exceptions to God’s ways, not the normal.  The normal is an obedient local body supporting the local minister in such a manner that their housing, food, clothing, and life style was similar to that of everyone about them. Sadly we maybe in some instances more like Elijah and Jezebel’s time where ministers have to live by faith because things are so off God’s pattern.

Tithing Is For Today

Jesus showed a beautiful example in the feeding of the five thousand how when people choose to give their lives in serving him, Jesus blesses the multitude and the multitude in turn, blesses those in full time ministry.  This is a not a perfect tithe in this story but it shows the pattern of God taking care of his full time servants from the giving of the masses that are blessed from ministry.  In the following passage Jesus points out how the Pharisees tithed literally everything but left out human compassion in their lives.  Jesus commended them for the tithing, thus endorsing tithing in the New Testament, but scolded them for their lack in other areas.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Just as the feeding of the five thousand was not a perfect tithe, God loosens things up in the New Testament.  There were twelve disciples that needed to be blessed that obediently served that day and enough provision came back from the twelve to take care of their needs. If there had been five disciples or twenty that would be how many baskets came back. Tithing in the New Testament is a guideline and not a ridged bondage to be under.

Summary of Provision

When a church, a local body is doing like Jesus did, bringing a blessing to the masses they serve, it is the duty of that group to give back a portion to meet the needs of those serving in that group. In America we like to give to things but not to people and that has to change. Today churches become dependent on giving for many of their needs and suddenly (right or wrong) unhappy members stop giving of leave and create a severe budget deficit with often with no apparent concern. Tithing is all about individual people’s needs, not buildings, not programs, or ministries to people there are other offering to care for those needs. If the foundation of caring consistently for God’s full time ministers will bless all aspects of ministry.

I Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

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