Friday, April 29, 2011

Their "share"

"Then the LORD said to Aaron, 'You shall have no allotment in their land, nor shall you have any share among them; I am your share and your possession among the Israelites.'"
(Numbers 18:20)

"Everyone gets their fair share!"  When God divided up the land that the Israelites had moved into (aka "The Promised Land"), all the tribe got their fair share.  All, that is, except the tribe of Levi.  The Levites became the priests & "official church staff."  They worked with the sacred objects & worship life of the people. They were spread out throughout the country, and given a place in various cities, but no land ownership like everyone else.  Why?  I'm guessing God wanted them free to "move about the country" (to borrow a slogan from Southwest Airlines). They weren't to become attached to places or things like the rest of the people.  GOD WOULD BE THEIR 'SHARE!'

As a card-carrying member of the modern-day priesthood, this is a challenging passage to me.  I like having my own stuff.  Sure, I live in a church-owned parsonage... but Jody & I also have a house we've bought for our retirement (her parents are living in it right now).  I hear that more and more of us UMC clergy are reluctant to move & participate in our "itinerant system."  Could it be that we're too comfortable?  That we have a hard time trusting that God is our share?

How might my life & ministry change if I truly trusted God for everything?  I know there's a fine line between trust and foolishness (meaning God calls us to be wise & plan accordingly, rather than just expect others to provide for us).  But we clergy seem to want to hold on to the "control" side of the equation.  Maybe God has something even better in store for us... if we'll let him be our share!

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