I really do not understand this passage, “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied”. How does this teaching apply for us today?
Tithing, or giving 10% of all of your earnings was mandatory for every person of the nation of Israel. The tithe was set aside, first of all, for the Levites who were set apart to serve as the priest of God. They were not allowed to have any other source of income so that they could solely focus on holy service to the Lord. God wanted them to serve Him and the people faithfully, producing quality service. If you want to know how tithing applies to Christians then you need to realize that Jesus did not annul the practice of tithing and it is good for Christians to practice tithing in their local churches because this is a contribution to the spreading of the Gospel. Part of the tithe will be given to the pastor(s), decided on by the church of course (members), who faithfully serve and lead the members of the church by teaching the Word of God. This was the same service that the Levites offered the people.
Another important thing that we see in this passage is that each person in Israel was to have a personal relationship with the Levite who was serving them and this was manifested through the person’s giving of the tithe. We see a similar teaching in the New Testament, an exhortation to relate to our spiritual leaders correctly as well as personally through our “giving”. In the epistle to the Galatians we find the following:
6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. (Galatians 6)
So, the person who is taught the Word of God should learn to relate to his leader personally and this is to be done through sharing all good things (including “giving”). Unfortunately, there are few Christians today who appreciate the value of being taught sound doctrine from the Word of God and even fewer who know how to appreciate those who teach them. The Holy Word also teaches us:
12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, (I Thessalonians 5)