It’s amazing how even simple daily chores and tasks can be so very different day-by-day when we are connected to other people. Our lives can have set schedules and predefined plans, but once you add in the “other person” factor, everything we plan and do suddenly changes. Our “set schedule” suddenly becomes a possible plan or a good idea or a guarantee of what WON’T happen. This is the case while Jesus is ministering as well.
Jesus ministers to a leaper, and all is normal… or as normal as they can be when you heal a leaper with a touch. Then along comes a Centurion, a solider, many of whom dislike and mistreat the Jewish people. Only this one is asking Jesus for help. Not only does Jesus help him, but Jesus then turns around and says that He has not seen such faith in all of Israel! Next we see people desiring to be His disciples, but then Jesus pushes them away. What kind of teacher doesn’t want students?
After a long day, Jesus and His disciples head out in a boat and cross the sea. Suddenly a tempest strikes and it looks like they will all drown. When His disciples wake Him to help with the boat, He rebukes them. Then He rebukes the storm and it immediately stops!
They all reach the other side only to run into a pair of men who are demon possessed and who have been driving people out of the region. They free them from the demons only to be driven out of the region by the rest of the people BECAUSE they freed these men from being held captive by demons! (I have my own theories as to why they kicked them out, but i’m not going to say them here and now.)
When you minister day by day directly with people, these are the kinds of unusual days and situations you are going to run into. If you are in the ministry, and your schedule is well defined and set. If you don’t have days where your plans and schedule are messed up by people, then i would wonder if you you are “ministering”, or if you are “doing the ministry”. If you are doing the ministry I would challenge you to consider what your call and purpose is.
Jesus did not sit in an office all day. He was hands on, and if we are to be like Him, we need to reconsider what it means to “minister” to the flock.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
The plans are in place! The blueprints are being written up. The details are set. Life as we know it is changing. There are three constants in the world: Death, Taxes, and Change. The people of Israel are used to living surrounded by other gods. Gods of the Egyptians, gods of the Canaanites, and the gods of everyone in between. All of these other gods have temples and alters and rules of worship, but the Israelites seem to not have anything that they can use to identify with their God. The God of the Israelites doesn’t want statues to be made of Him. He hides His name from them. They have no established alter or temple to bring sacrifices to. How do you connect with a God like that?
Well, that’s all changing. God has just given Moses the plans for the tabernacle, and is now giving him the plans and blueprints for the alter and courtyard as well. The people of Israel are well on their way to having a place and way to worship that is all their own. No more having to watch all of these other nations and people worship their gods in all their ways, and not to be able to show their devotion to the God of their fathers. Finally, there is a more complete identity in what it means to be an Israelite and to serve their own God. The people of Israel are starting to become a more cohesive unit with all that YHWH has done for them, and now a way for the circle to be completed… a place to honor and serve Him in return. They are finally able to fulfill their lives and purpose.
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we have been place on this planet and in this world for a purpose outside of ourselves. Our culture attempts to push us to accept that we are here to serve ourselves, and that other people are here for me. But the reality is that we are here to serve Him. When we are not serving Him, or worshiping Him in what we do and say, we will always have a sense of loss… of being incomplete. It’s only in honoring and worshiping God in our lives, actions, and words that we are able to be complete in who we are. These ancient civilizations had so much of a better grasp of these concepts than we do. We are continually trying to rebel from what some would call “oppression”, but what is in reality a core part of who we are… To serve a greater God. And now, with the plans in place, the Israelites are finally going to get what they need. A place and way to serve the one true God, the alter and court of the tabernacle.
John J. Camiolo Jr.
Either i’ve become a faster writer, the verses are shorter or easier in this chapter some how, or both. It took me less than an hour and a half to copy over the 40 verses in this chapter. When i started this project it took me an hour and a half to do ~30 verses. If i was to gander a guess, i would say that it is probably a combination of things. Either way, its good to see this, as i will be starting an earlier class schedule today and i have less time to get prepped each day to teach.
Here we see God prepping Moses and Israel to build Him a sanctuary. He calls for the people to raise a contribution by asking for specific materials, and He gives Moses the plans for how to make the ark with the mercy seat, the table, the lamp stand, and other necessary tools and utensils. It’s funny, when i think of the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat, what i visualize is the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that’s very different from what is described here.
What i thought was interesting about this chapter is that YHWH initiates the first fund raiser for a church building project. He also doesn’t just ask for gold or money to purchase the right equipment to do the job, but He asks for the material itself. It’s an interesting and intriguing way of getting things done. It’s not just… “Write a check for this much money.” It’s about investing in the actual building and development. Then the people can turn around and say to their kids, “look, see the fine linen that is used in the ephod and breastpiece? We donated that.” Or, “See the red rams skins used in the curtains of the tabernacle, that’s from us and our family! See, we are a part of this place.” It gives the people some semblance of connection and identity with the project. The very building itself becomes a legacy. It’s much more personal than just writing a check.
Are we investing OURSELVES into the kingdom of God, or are we just writing a tithe check? Is the kingdom work about us doing the work, or us funding the work? Maybe that’s a key to helping people embrace the mission and work of the church and ministry?