10–16 March 2019.
The Bible tells us that in the years when the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, they carried a tabernacle with them. The tabernacle was the place where Israel’s priests and leaders could meet with God and serve him. Because the people were mobile, the tabernacle had to be mobile too. As the people journeyed from place to place, they needed to disassemble the tabernacle, pack it up, and move it with them. So, thankfully, the tabernacle was quite small; the word “tabernacle” itself literally just means “a tent”. So it was the perfect mobile place of worship that the Israelites could carry with them.
But despite the tabernacle being so small, Numbers 4 counts out the many thousands of people who were responsible for moving the tabernacle and serving in it. To our modern ears this sounds ridiculous. And even worse: to those who work in management this just sounds wasteful. Did the Israelites really need so many thousands of people to be involved in moving a tent? That doesn’t sound very efficient at all.
But what we often lose sight of when we see things through managerial eyes is that efficiency is not always the most important goal. Instead, God was sharing with the Israelites a much more important principle: the importance of participation. Of course just a few people could have done the work of caring for the tabernacle. But the goal was to open the way for as many people as possible to participate in this important task and to contribute to it.
For many years I have said that one of our important goals in the EM is to have 100% of our congregation serving in some way. At last count we were up to about 40%, which means we still have a long way to go. From a managerial perspective some people may ask suspiciously: Do we actually need so many coworkers to help with the running of the EM? My answer is always: Absolutely!
God gives each one of us particular gifts and talents, and we are given those skills in order to serve him and to serve each other. God wants us all to be involved in the joy of worshipping him, he calls us all to participate. Each one of us really is needed; each one of us is wanted; and there really is something valuable that each of us can do. Together we all have an important role to play in building and serving this community. So if you haven’t yet found the place where you can join in, please come speak with me so you too can take your important place with us, serving God together.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis