January 29, 2023
“So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave the Gershonites two carts and four oxen, and gave the Merarites two carts and eight oxen...”
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“So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave the Gershonites two carts and four oxen, and gave the Merarites two carts and eight oxen, corresponding to their service, under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. But he did not give any to the Kohathites, since their responsibility was service related to the holy objects carried on their shoulders.” Numbers 7:6-9
There are many different tasks involved in running a church. It’s not all preaching and Bible study, you know. Whenever a church grows, so do the jobs that accompany the ministry. One day, while working for a church in California, I arrived to work only to find one of our church maintenance guys repairing the lock on my office door. (Apparently, vandals had squirted superglue into several locks on campus.) So, there I was, waiting on the lock to be repaired because my locksmith skills were feeble.
That is when it hit me how specialized our ministry had become. Each church employee and volunteer has a specific task, and often they need specialized tools. It doesn’t make sense to give the janitors laptop computers, although I’m sure they’d each like one. It also doesn’t make sense to give socket wrenches to the teaching staff. We provide our staffers with what they need to accomplish their specific tasks.
On the day Moses dedicated the tabernacle, the tribal leaders donated 6 carts and 12 oxen for the service of the tabernacle. The Levites divided the items among themselves, except for Aaron’s family, the Kohathites. Why? The Kohathites were to carry holy objects on their shoulders. Now, it seems inefficient to carry things when you have free carts & oxen. So, why would God disallow them this labor-saving gift?
Perhaps, it is because the holiest things in our lives must also be the most personal. Some ministry tasks can be accomplished with time-saving gadgets, but the most important job, our efforts toward discipleship through personal interaction with God, must be done on our own. For instance, you can Google the answers to most Bible questions, but that is not a substitute for the time spent with the Lord through personal Bible study, to the extent that you simply know the answers because you know God and His Word personally. It seems our culture is more interested in knowing God’s guidance than in getting to know the Guide, Himself!
I love hearing great preaching and reading Bible commentaries, but nobody else can pray the prayers God has laid aside for me to pray or read the Bible on my behalf. I must “shoulder” those responsibilities myself. There are simply some things, which cannot be carted along by the labor of others.
Furthermore, it is our personal dedication to the Lord that will carry the gospel. No TV program, hit song, or Hollywood blockbuster will impact the lives of those close to you more than the testimony of your personal dedication (or lack thereof) to God.
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