Many of you have heard this already, but when I was a kid I had a drug problem. Every Sunday morning my mother drug me out of bed and drug me to church.
As a family, it was just what we did.
On Sunday mornings we would get up, get dressed and go to our local church.
The rest of the week we went about our lives: Dad and Mom would go to work and us kids would go to school.
My understanding at the time was that Church is like any other enterprise. It has a boss (the Pastor) and those who worked for him.
I grew up Catholic, so aside from a few volunteers, the enterprise of our local church was done exclusively by the clergy. Having observed other denominations, that structure seemed to be pretty consistent.
Today I am a member of a Protestant congregation. It is a fairly large Church with about 700 members and we have a school with about 300 students. As you can imagine, there is a lot to do in the day to day operation of both school and church.
We have paid staff such as pastors and administration, maintenance and cafeteria staff, operational and clerical support. Some might think that is all that is needed to run a successful church.
Many believe that their only responsibility to their local assembly is to show up on Sunday, put some money in the collection plate and don’t give the place another thought till next week.
Others believe that Church is like a hospital, and the only time to go is when there is something wrong. Once the trouble is resolved, Church is put on the back burner until another issue comes about.
Carry Your Weight Boy…
As I write this article, I am reading through the book of Numbers for my daily devotionals.
It is not one of my favorite Books, and to tell you the truth, when I read through it, I am usually day dreaming about other things.
However, this one scripture kind of jumped out at me the other morning:
Numbers 4:49 (NLT)- Each man was assigned his task and told what to carry, just as the LORD had commanded through Moses…
And that’s when the question came to me: Are we, as men, carrying our weight at Church?
If we claim to be Christian, if we claim to be godly men, are we about the assigned task that we were created to perform.
The Popular Concept of Church…
Now I know this will go against the grain of what has become the traditional view of church in America. We see church as a ‘part’ of our lives, varying in degrees from one person to another.
Church is necessary on the spiritual side of our culture. It is how we were raised and it is how we raise our children.
Church is important–on Sunday. The rest of the week it is left to paid staff and ordained preachers.
Sunday service gives us enough truth to make it for a week, but our responsibility stops at attendance and financial support.
Church In The Wilderness…
In the Books of Moses, we learn that Church was a way of life for the Hebrews as they trekked through the Wilderness. It was not a weekly occurrence; it was a daily necessity.
You see, they were dependent on God for everything.
For food, they got a daily supply of Manna. Directions were provided from a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; steering them clear of danger and bringing them to water and other provisions.
After deliverance from the bondage suffered in Egypt, three million Hebrews were directed toward the Promised Land. The journey had the many pitfalls of a dangerous wilderness.
It was not an easy road, and impossible for a large community with limited expertise in trail blazing. They were slaves in Egypt. They were relegated to laborers for construction. They made bricks and hauled heavy objects.
There was not among them engineers or navigators that were necessary for this journey.
They had no means to feed their number from the limited resources available in a desert.
They were totally dependent on God.
They needed a daily miracle to survive and continue the journey.
They needed direction, provision and instruction.
God With Us…
So God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. He instructed Moses to build a place of worship where He could reside with the people.
He gave specific instruction on how the church was to be built and how it was to operate.
Because the people were mobile, the church had to be mobile. It did not move with the people, but rather was moved by the people.
To move this tabernacle was not a small feat. Instruments such as the Altar of Sacrifice, the Laver, along with all the vessels in the Holy Place were just a few of the many articles that had to be in transport at a moment’s notice.
These articles were heavy and required strong men to carry them.
The moment the Cloud of the Lord started to move, these men had to pack every item with care and deliver them to a place where God determined.
Numbers 4:15, 19 (NKJV)- And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them…
…Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task.
Hear me men. Just as the sons of Kohath were, we are priests (1 Peter 2:9). We are also the stronger vessel (1 Peter 3:7), equipped for the heavy lifting.
We are assigned the task of carrying the heavy weight of the church under the direction of God. Collectively, we are to carry it all.
But individually we have a specific task that is assigned to us by God.
So let me ask the question again. Are you pulling your weight? Are you fulfilling the assigned task that you were created to perform?
Perhaps you think that when you came to know Jesus it was just a random experience.
That you were lucky enough to be raised in church,hear a witness or get an invitation. You accepted Jesus and now you listen to the sermons and give your offering. You make friends and go to the banquets and special services.
But are you carrying your weight? Do you participate or do you just show up?
Just as in the days of Moses, we are assigned a task. We are disciples. That means we not only follow Christ, we carry a burden as well.
We were assigned a task collectively by Jesus Himself. (Matthew 28:19) But you were designed to accomplish something specific. Something that can not be accomplished by anyone else.
You were created for purpose. Not just general purpose, but a particular purpose. Unique to you, working in concert with those around you. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
As It Applies To Me…
It took me a long time to realize my specific purpose. I had been faithful in attendance with a willingness to get involved.
But I was a cookie cutter type Christian. I tried to fit into the mold of what a good Christian looks like.
And to be honest with you I played the part well. I could speak right, had a scripture at the ready and even had a bit of respect within my local assembly.
But I had yet to get specific. I wandered in the wilderness, picking up any stray article that needed to be carried but not assigned to me. Then one day, not too long ago, it hit me.
I figured out what it was I was designed to do. And here is the key component. It is what I am passionate about and it is what I enjoy doing.
What is it? Well your reading part of it.
From the time I could remember, I enjoyed writing. I also had a way with communicating. But when I went to college I sold out for a career in Finance. It was a path to money.
I hate finance. It was not part of my design. It was not what I was made to do.
I am gifted in teaching, evangelizing and have a passion for writing. Am I good? I let you be the judge of that. But here is what I know. The more I do it the better I get. The better I get at what I was made to do, the more of that burden I can carry.
What’s In It For You…?
*The following is paraphrased from: Benefits of a Purpose Driven Life…Angelfire.com
*Once you find your purpose, your life takes on meaning. We were made to have meaning. When your life has meaning, your life has hope. Your life has significance. Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. Hope comes from your specific purpose.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
*It also simplifies your life. You can plan your life according to your purpose. It defines what you do and what you don’t do. I have come to realize that if I write three hours a day, not only am I fulfilled, but I can eliminate the unnecessary clutter that clogs up my days of useless activity.
*It gives your life focus. It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important. You become effective by being selective. For me to be a good writer means I have to write every day. But I also need to read. Reading Christian books and book that interest me hones my knowledge and my craft and keeps me away from activities that are not useful such as television and facebook.
*It Motivates your life…Purpose promotes passion. You wake up excited about what the day holds when you are operating in your purpose. It gets you motivated to face the day and be successful.
*It prepares you for eternity…Many people look to leave a lasting legacy in this life with no thought of the next. The problem with legacy is that it rarely lasts but a generation at best. But we were built for eternity.
*One day we will stand before God to answer two questions, “What did you do with my son Jesus Christ?” and “What did you do with what I gave you?”
We all have talent at something. Perhaps it’s teaching or communications. Perhaps it is being able to manage money, Marketing ideas or clerical administration. Perhaps you are good with your hands.
Perhaps you are merciful, perhaps you recognize a healing hand within you.
Perhaps you are gifted in leading.
Whatever it is, are you using it to carry your weight for your local church? Are you using it to carry your weight for The Kingdom of God?
The best thing about carrying weight at your church is that not only will the church and the Kingdom benefit, but you will benefit without measure.
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NKJV)
So let me encourage you man of God, get to carrying your weight and enjoy the fulfillment of a successful life!