Many years later, in two different letters, Paul will write: “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
In the Church, not everyone who serves serves by preaching and teaching. And not everyone who serves does so full-time. But since the beginning of the people of God, there has been a place for and a calling of people to give their lives to the service of God.
It is a serious calling. Those who claim to speak when God has not spoken, according to Deuteronomy 18, deserve to die. On the other hand, those who serve faithfully deserve to be compensated for their work – no matter what their economic standing.
Priests would be scattered throughout the land in the forty-eight levitical cities belonging to them (Numbers 35:7). But the special place of their service was to be the tabernacle (temple) where God caused his name to dwell. There might be a tendency to populate the temple service with only those who lived near the sanctuary. Because these served more often and longer than those who lived outside that area, there might also be a tendency to support only those who served. But Deuteronomy 18 clearly specifies that all Levites should be welcome to serve, and serve there or not, all were equally worthy of support: not just for what they did, but for who they were.