We’re living a moment when kingdom reality fascinates believers. We like the thought of sitting in high places with Christ. Knowing we are special. And we revel in feeling important. Perhaps even having the title of bishop or apostle. But that’s not the idea of God’s priesthood.
Not that titles are necessarily wrong. But the Old Testament priests were just servants. “They are to minister to me,” God said. And minister simply means to serve.
You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests, (Exodus 30:30).
Their work wasn’t exciting. They didn’t preach fiery sermons. (The prophets did that.) And they didn’t teach much, astounding people with their great store of wisdom. They were nothing but servants, and pretty lowly ones at that.
The priests were mostly just glorified butchers. Because that was their main task, day in and day out. They slaughtered animals, pouring their blood out on the altar, sometimes burning them up. Definitely not prestigious. Picture the blood and gore, no pun intended. Imagine the stench of animal carcasses burning. We have lived near rendering plants, and the smell was unbelievably nauseating.
And we too need to remember that we are here to serve, as Christ served.
We need pastors, preachers, and church people who see themselves as lowly servants. Who don’t care about standing in front of people, just to make themselves heard. But who truly want to serve, no matter how humble the task.
And even the Tabernacle where the priests ministered emphasized this.
With two particular details. And here, I’m stealing from my husband’s Sunday sermon on the royal priesthood.
First, this tent had no floor.
Several layers of walls, yes. A well-sealed roof to keep the rain out, and even a dividing curtain. But no floor, because keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground would keep the priests from thinking too much of themselves. It served to remind them of their humanity and their need of God.
And inside we find everything from sinks and tables to candlesticks. But no chairs.
Because the priest was on duty. There was no time or place for sitting down on the job. And this forms a perfect picture of our call to service. God calls us to full-time service, not part-time. Serving only when we feel like it, or when we find time.
But what does this full-time service mean in practical ways?
- In our families, it means being the first to jump up and do things.
- In the church, we gladly clean the bathrooms, whistling all the while.
- And in society we visit the outcasts. Those hard to get along with or perhaps smelly.
- We skip eating out or buying that new shirt to help that jobless family.
- And we dip into our pockets for the widows, orphans, and poor around the world.
Kingdom reality means understanding that we are only servants. That the royalty and majesty belong to another, and that we are here to proclaim his excellence. And that it is best done serving others.
God calls us to wear an apron, not a crown!
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, (1 Peter 2:9).
[Image of Termoli castle ©TheScorziellos-Sheila]