Shake Your Ministry-Maker

Have you ever compared yourself or dare I say, your ministry with someone else’s? Have you ever wondered aloud, in question form, much like Sarah on CSI…(Why does that woman always speak in questions whether she’s asking one or not?) I just don’t underSTAND? 

“God, how can I be doing anything for you when I have a Bible study group of 3? And two of them are only here for free childcare because their kids are driving them nuts. Duh, haven’t they heard of MOPS? Oh wait, they go to MOPS, too.”

“Lord, is there nothing else I can do but rock babies every 6th Sunday? I mean look at (insert name), she’s leading Women’s Ministry and it’s pushing 200 women on a slow night! I don’t matter. I have nothing. And this baby is slobbering on my brand new Goodwill shirt. Yeah, yeah, I’m thankful….for the shirt”

“Okay, I can bake another casserole, but did you hear (insert name) on the stage today? Singing like an angel, engaging the entire congregation, tears running down her face. It just doesn’t make this tuna-noodle seem important.”

“Lord, I’m barely hanging on with this one WIP and look at (insert name), she’s not only selling books left and right, she’s going all over the world speaking! I can’t ever be her!”

No, you can’t. You won’t. But you are YOU! And you, righteous one, are special. Holy to God. Set apart for a unique purpose. 
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure…” Deuteronomy 7:6 NKJV

I’m gonna go Old Testament on you for a minute. Walk back in time with me for a second and bear with me, I have a point. No, really, like I do.  Way back, after God freed His people (Hebrews/Israelites) from bondage (Egypt), He made a beautiful covenant with them. I am Your God, You are My people. I love you. I want to do wonderful things through and in you. If you’ll obey me and love Me back. (Paraphrase)
Now, they wandered in the desert for a really long time, 40 years (that’s another story but I’ll leave it with, they had it coming) but they needed a place to worship God. So God gave Moses some very detailed instructions.
There’s a lesson here: God is detailed. He’s in the details and if you’ll pause long enough, He’ll give you clear direction, detailed directions on how to accomplish something for Him.
He gave Moses instruction on how to build a traveling tabernacle. Tent like construction that they could put up and take down as they journeyed to their Promised land. You can read about those amazing instructions in Exodus chapter 26.  Particular colors, fabrics, sizes, settings, a way to break it down and a way to raise it up. 
AND…how to carry it as they traveled. This is important!

First God made sure to put people in the bunch who had the ability and skills to construct and create the pattern given.
God always gives you resources when He gives you a task! He does not set you up to fail. 
(Although we do stumble at times, we are not utterly cast down. Even in times of stumbling, God has a plan to get us to where He wants us to be. Take stumbling as a learning experience to get you closer to THE plan!)
Don’t call it failure! Call it a stumble. Failure means staying down; it means I didn’t make it. Stumbling means tripping ALONG THE WAY!

Let’s jump forward. The tabernacle is built. The articles that go inside, finished. Everything is prepared and ready. The details have been followed exactly. By the way, a freebie for you, the reason God made everything detailed was because each article down to the tassels of the priests robes pointed to Jesus Christ! Oh, yes, friend. Everything about the Old Testament is about our Awesome Savior! Don’t think for a second it’s dry history. Even the desert wasn’t always dry! Not when  God was making rivers through it!
Gifted artisans constructed the tabernacle. Hey, maybe you know how to sew so you make costumes for the Christmas play. But you don’t sing the solo that receives great applause. You did put that person in character, you took the crowd back in time and placed them right there at the manger. It wouldn’t have been as believable had they been in skinny jeans and a hoodie at Jesus’ birth. YOU were gifted. YOU were used. YOU are important! 
God put the Levites in charge of the tabernacle.
I know Levi 501’s. I know Levi Kreis the singer. I know Levi so and so from across the street, but who is Levite?
Levites were men from the tribe of Levi. Levi one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Jacob the Patriarch. Levi the head of the Levite tribe. And his boys were set apart as priests. Not all Levites were priests, but all priests had to be a Levite! (Except Jesus but that’s another blog!) They were set apart for service to  God.
What’s that got to do with you? 
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NJKV (bold letters all me)
The whole point of priest in the OT? A picture or foreshadowing of who WE are to be today, ministers to God (and Jesus is our High Priest)! 
Now let’s do a breakdown real quick so we can understand a couple of things:
Levi had 3 sons: Gershon, Kohath, & Merari 
Any boy in any generation born from these three men were Levites and could be a priest.
Why is this important? I’m getting there.
 Hang with me! 
Each one of these tribes had a specific job when it came to taking care of the tabernacle and carrying it on their journey in the desert. FYI, Moses & Aaron came from Amram who was the son of Kohath. Just sayin. And no, I don’t get the horrible names either.
Duties of Kohath:
The sons of Kohath (sons meaning generational not literal) served the tabernacle by taking care of the most holy things: the veil, the ark of the covenant, the Testimony, the table of showbread, and the golden altar. Each man assigned what to carry. Pretty important isn’t it? Wow, to be close to the most holy things? You can read about all of their ministries in Numbers 4:1-20.
Duties of Gershon:
They carried the curtains of the tabernacle and the tabernacle of meeting with its covering, the screens for the doors, the hangings of the court which surround the tabernacle and altar, their cords and furnishings for service and all that is made for those things particular things. Each man assigned what they were to carry. Not the most holy things, but definitely a big job, right? Numbers 4:21-28
Duties of Merari:
These guys served by carrying the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, and the pillars around the court with its sockets, pegs, and cords, with all the furnishings for this service. Each man was assigned what to carry. Sound like grunt work doesn’t it? Far from the most holy and even a step down from what the Gershon boys were taking care of. Numbers 4:29-33


Here’s my point: It doesn’t matter which group you’re in. You are vital to carrying the love of Jesus around. Without you and what you do, something gets left behind.

Maybe you’re rocking a baby. But Mama and Daddy get to go to service and be refreshed. Maybe during that one service, their failing marriage is restored. All because you carried a tent peg. Nope, you weren’t on the stage leading them into worship, you weren’t Kohath. But had  childcare been cancelled because no one would volunteer…?
Maybe you bake casseroles for sick families or when families lose a loved one. You may not be leading 200 women at a Bible study, but you’ve done them a great service by carrying that curtain and giving them something they couldn’t give themselves at the moment. 
No, you don’t travel the world and speak to millions. You don’t pump out best-sellers every six months and have a twitter following of 1 million. But you do write quality work and it does get in the hands of a few thousand. And in that few thousand a wife realizes she’s been neglecting her husband and repents, a daughter sees her past mistakes as a chance to minister to others, a mother awakens to the idea of a second chance with her children. And a few women realize they can keep moving forward. 
How is that not important, righteous one? The veil, a curtain, a socket. It matters not. 
“I tell you the truth, when you did it to the least of these…you were doing it to Me.” ~Jesus (Mt.24:40 NLT)
“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. 1 Corinthians 12:10-12 NLT

I’m hosting at Living By Grace today! Come on over and let’s talk about ministering to the church! 
Share a novel that has ministered to you and don’t forget to add who the author is! 

20 thoughts on “Shake Your Ministry-Maker

  1. I love this post, Jessica! So many in ministry complain that they aren't speaking about Christ in front of audiences of thousands, yet they don't share Him with their own family. Some want to do great things with a windfall of ministry income, yet they aren't faithful to tithe from their current paycheck. Thanks so much for this great reminder – and for going Old Testament on us!

     
     
  2. Whisper in the Wind, Francine Rivers

    Great post!

     
     
  3. This reminds me of what we were talking about in yesterday's Bible study.

    We were talking about witnessing and how there are so many links in a chain that ultimately lead to somebody giving their life to Christ. And just because we're one of the first links in the chain (where we planted seeds, but didn't see the harvest) doesn't make us any less valuable than the final link in the chain (the person that got to pray with the person and actually see him/her come to Christ). God only calls us to faithful and obedient. He's the one who carries out the work. He just wants us to be faithful. I love that about God!

     
     
  4. Donna: Great points!

    Jessica: I'll have to put that on my TBR pile. I've only read 2 books by Rivers but I really liked them both.

    Katie: Great comment! Everyone is a MVP!

     
     
  5. So, so, so good. I'm running out the door now, but pretty sure I'll be mentally chewing on this during my drive. So encouraging…especially this: "It doesn't matter which group you're in. You are vital to carrying the love of Jesus around. Without you and what you do, something gets left behind."

    Thanks for an awesome start to my Wednesday!

     
     
  6. God is so amazing! Guess what book of the Bible I'm in right now – Exodus? Guess what I was reading about last night – the tabernacle. Guess what I couldn't stop thinking about – how amazing it is that God had plans for this amazing thing and he had given his people just the right talents and resorces to construct it. I love when God smacks me in the face with something. It's like He's saying – Are you listening, Julie? Because this part is important!

     
     
  7. You are so good at giving Bible lessons, Jessica!!

    As I recently sent out a submission and am preparing for the response I find myself turning this not into a church ministry thing but into writing related. So even if I never get published what you're saying is that the critiquing, beta reading, and brain storming I do with others who are published or will be published is important–plays the role God has for me. So I'm not useless afterall? LOL Seriously, I never thought I was, but you're so right, we need to see the purpose God has for us and do it the best we can.

    Thanks, Jessica!

     
     
  8. Thanks for putting everything we do for the Lord in the proper perspective! Reminds me of the body of Christ and how important it is to use the talent the Lord's given us, so the body functions as it's supposed to. We can't all be eyes or ears, but God has given each of us an important job to do! Taking the focus off ourselves and putting it on Christ makes all the difference. After all, it's not about us – it's ALL about Him!

     
     
  9. Loved this post! Too often we compare ourselves to others, but I love your reminder, Jess, that God made each of us and has a purpose for each of us. We can reach out in our own unique way!

     
     
  10. Wow! I wish you could have heard me as I read your post! ("Preach it, girl!") Fantastic words of wisdom.

    A book that I recently finished, "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo. Scripturally sound and an inspiring glimpse into what paradise is going to be like!

     
     
  11. Yes! It's never good to compare yourself with others, in your service for God as well as in writing or any other area of your life. Great reminder!

     
     
  12. love this lesson, Jessica! And you so know i'm needing direction right now. And reassurance that I'm who God wants me to be, which is not the person with the other life that looks good sometimes.

     
     
  13. I read through this then bookmarked to go back and read again. Slowly. And let it sink all the way in.

     
     
  14. I just love your Bible lessons! I was like Cynthia with the "Preach it, girl".

    It is so important that we don't compare our ministries with others…God has a special plan for each one of us. We start with one person at a time.

    Awesome post, Jess – One I will read again.

     
     
  15. Such an inspired and inspiring post, Jessica. I remember listening in on a Steve Laube class at conference one year, and he said, "Some authors get frustrated when they only sell 5,000 copies. And I say, 'But that's a stadium full of people!'" Sort of puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

     
     
  16. This is the gist of the post my computer ate on Monday – pretty sure I needed to read it more than I needed to write it. Thanks for sharing, Jess – great post:)

     
     
  17. Melissa: Glad you have something to chew on! 🙂

    Julie: I love it when God does that! Feels good to know you're exactly where you're supposed to be, huh?!

    Eileen: Yep, I think every little bit we do to help and encourage counts!

    Maria & Stacy: You're right it is all about Him. I love how He makes us unique and plans all sorts of things for us to do. Pretty cool.

    Cynthia: I can hear you preaching with me! 🙂 Your post was similar today. Loved it!

    Carol: I think us writers tend to want to do that. But you're right, in anything we shouldn't compare. It's a toughy!

    Heather: Thanks. I do know. Praying God serves up a big helpin of direction for you!

    LD: Praying God speaks to ya while it's sinking on it. That's the thing about Wednesday posts, they can tend to go long but at least we have online bookmarks. That's so cool!

    Loree: Thanks! I love this blog lets me freely share what I've learned. Glad you're getting something from them! 🙂

    Sarah: That's an awesome quote! It is a whole stadium. It's all about perspective. So true.

    Susan: I hate it when blogger eats my posts. Guess God is up to something spreading the same words throughout the blogosphere!

     
     
  18. The last novel I read, The Chair by James Rubart, really ministered to me! 🙂

    Thanks for posting this. No matter what our place in the Body is, we can always look around and find someone doing it better/looking better doing it/doing it before we can. We always need to be on the alert for comparisons!

     
     
  19. This is so DEEP! I wish I could invite you to speak at my church. god gives everyone a different gift and responsibility etc. We can't all be doing the same thing! Once we recognize the worth of each member – well – then we'll see real change.

     
     
  20. A novel that ministered to me? Hm. Quite a few of them! That would be a too-long list. 🙂 Great post as usual, girl.

     
     

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