I learned a lesson about responsibility when I went to college. As a freshman athlete playing varsity football and baseball, I found I was expected to handle “rookie” tasks such as carrying equipment for the older players to and from the practice field, picking up snacks for the seniors, and generally being a “gopher” for goofy stuff (i.e., singing the school fight song on request) or more mundane stuff that upperclassmen thought of.
I recall freshman fighting against the idea of rookies being made to do anything like I mentioned above, and they got more pushback from the older players. There was a pecking order on the team(s), and it took a while to earn the trust and respect of the incumbent players. This one freshman, however, took a lot a ribbing for not doing his part. He was told he was slacking off and not carrying his weight when he refused to bring donuts to a weekend practice. I think he thought the seniors had no right to order him around and expect him to handle such tasks.
In retrospect, it was a part of building team chemistry. It was not “unnecessary or boring or insignificant” tasks. Most of the “rookies” like me did our part, to which we were on the end of some laughs at our expense, but no one was really harmed or hurt by pranks and donut runs.
Read Numbers 3:6-8.
Moses appointed the Levites to be priests and “do the work of the Tabernacle.” The Levites were descendants of Levi, son of Jacob. Levi had three sons (Kohath, Gershon, and Merari) and the work of the Levites was broken up among those three families.
For example, when it was time to move the camp, the Kohathites carried the “most holy things,” (Numbers 4:1-20). Moving camp included packing and taking care of the dishes, jars, bread, the table of the presence of the Lord, as well as the lampstands, wick trimmers, trays, oil jars, shovels, meat forks, and sprinkling bowls.
Moses and Aaron were also descended from Levi. Scripture reveals that as Aaron and his sons aided in the packing process, they did so by putting a blue cover over all the stuff and then wrap them in a cover of special hide. The idea was that the Kohathites were forbidden to touch or see the stuff they were packing or they would die. How is that an easy task?
Barbara and I have moved a few times in our married life together, but I was never threatened with death if I “saw” the china or any of our treasured possessions as I packed them in newspaper and UPS boxes for secure transmission.
The Gershonites were responsible for packing and carrying the curtains of the Tabernacle (Numbers 4:21-28). The Merarites (Numbers 4:29-33) transported the posts, crossbars, ropes, tent pegs, and bases of the Tabernacle. All three families had chores. Each person had to do their part or the Tabernacle could not be transported, and set up correctly, so all could meet God.
The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 12) that as each person has a body with many parts, so the Body of Christ has many parts, with distinct assignments. If one person doesn’t do their job, the community of Christ suffers. Get the picture? Think theologically. Avoid making excuses, being lazy, and get busy. Each of us has a job to do!
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz