Taking Turns

I grew up in a rural area that wasn’t close to the school I attended. Monday through Friday, my dad would drive us 30 minutes to school. It was a long ride and the front seat was the place to be. Both my brother and my sister felt the same way. We wanted the front seat. So in all fairness, we had to take turns. I believe we had a rotation each day of the week so that everything was fair.

I don’t remember the same eagerness to have our turn when it came to chores. I think my parents tried to split them up fairly. Although, I’m certain I got the most, especially when it came to weed pulling. Just sayin’. To this day, it remains one of my least favorite things to do in life. I digress. The point is, we all want our turn when it comes to the benefits, but don’t necessarily want our turn when it comes to the work. But sharing the work is as important (if not more so) than sharing the benefits.

1 Chronicles 27:1 This is the list of the Israelites—heads of families, commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and their officers, who served the king in all that concerned the army divisions that were on duty month by month throughout the year. Each division consisted of 24,000 men. 

What I find cool about this is that the army wasn’t just a select group of men. Instead, there were 12 divisions and they took turns, each serving for one month out of the year. They shared the burden of the work of protecting their nation. In fact, the wording in the verse is that they “served” the king. We, too should be looking for opportunities to serve the king. 

The work of the church of Jesus Christ is not a one-man or one-woman task. It requires the Body of Christ to actively “be” the church. We can be the church through our lifestyle, through our example, through our counsel, and even through our service. Like the armies of Israel, we ought to be taking a turn at serving the community of believers. Jesus didn’t design the church around the idea that some people would do the work and others would sit back and reap the benefits. Instead, he called us to be a family. 

Ask yourself today, how can I serve? How can I take a turn?


Spiritual Metal Detectors

I recently had the privilege of visiting Washington D.C. with my son. It was my first time there and it was such a great experience to see some of our nation’s history first-hand. One thing I noticed was that there were metal detectors everywhere. Aerospace Museum: metal detector. Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day: metal detector. Natural History Museum: metal detector.  Same story at the Statue of Liberty in New York: metal detector. Again, the same thing happened in Philadelphia visiting the Liberty Bell: metal detector.  Alongside all these metal detectors were security guards. They inspected bags, patted people down, and granted entry. The most sophisticated scanners, however, were at the airports. You step into the machine and it does a 360 full body scan.

So why all these security measures? Why the machines and the bag searches? Why the guards? You can probably answer those questions as easily as I can. The answer is security. The goal is to keep unwanted things out. In order to keep the public and the artifacts safe, they make sure that things that aren’t supposed to get in stay out. Things like guns, bombs, and knives. And maybe robots. We can’t have a terminator situation on our hands at these places.

1 Chronicles 26:16b-18 Guard was alongside of guard: There were six Levites a day on the east, four a day on the north, four a day on the south and two at a time at the storehouse. As for the court to the west, there were four at the road and two at the court itself.

Just like in Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, they had guards at the gates of the city in Bible times. These were the gatekeepers, charged with the responsibility to keep the city safe. They were assigned a position and worked alongside other guards to fulfill their duty. It was up to them to keep the city safe. It was up to them to prevent harm from coming in.

And just like those gatekeepers, you have a job to do. You are called to be the gatekeeper of your heart – it is up to you to protect it and keep unwanted things out. You are the gatekeeper of your mind – you’ve got to keep stuff out that will ruin you. Stuff like lies from the enemy, hateful thoughts, gossip and slander.

Yes, you are a gatekeeper. And you must have a spiritual metal detector to filter what gets in. What does that look like, practically? For me, I filter what music, movies, and reading material I let in. I put safeguards on my web browser. I don’t do this because I’m being paranoid; I do it because I’m being wise. You too, must recognize that being a gatekeeper is essential to walking rightly with Christ.

I want to challenge you today: put on your spiritual security guard uniform and start checking bags before you just let them in. Get out that spiritual metal detector of the Holy Spirit and run a scan on the things demanding entrance into your life.


The Town Crier

“Hear ye, hear ye!”

Long before Facebook, before Google, before cable news, and before newspapers was the Town Crier. Dating back to the 18th century, Town Criers were elaborately dressed men who would deliver the news to the town. Often carrying a large bell to gain the attention of the townsfolk, they would then declare out, “hear ye!” When the crowd had gathered, they would deliver the important news. Back in those days, if you wanted to “share” a story, you actually had to tell someone.

The Town Crier was an important part of society, keeping the people apprised of current events. But long before the Town Crier, David instituted his own version of it: the Town Prophesier. This person had an even more important job than keeping the town up to date on the current events or town scandals. His job was to announce the Word of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 25:1 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.  

Can you imagine this job? The job description might have looked like this: hear from the Lord and declare it to the people. What a cool job! They even had their own band that followed them around. I’ve always thought it would be cool to live life with a soundtrack, but these guys literally had that. Set apart for the ministry of prophesying… how about that?

As I reflect on this verse this morning, what strikes me is how important it is to hear from the Lord and declare it out. It has always been important. But we don’t need Town Criers; we don’t need professional prophesiers. WE can hear from the Lord. The prophet Joel said that God would pour out His Spirit on all people and it happened in Acts 2. Now YOU can hear from the Lord. YOU can prophesy. YOU can declare out what God is saying. 

You just have to take the time to ask and to listen.

The Leadership Factory

There’s this show on TV called “Shark Tank.” The premise is that entrepreneurs pitch their small business to savvy investors with the hopes that they will help take their business to the next level. Often, these people are producing their products in their kitchen or their garages. They come with their meager beginnings and hope to leave with a prosperous future. Often, these business owners desire to move their production from their homes to a factory. The demand has increased and so it is time to increase their productivity.

Once they land the deal, it’s go time. Many of these products get a huge spike in interest from the show, causing the business owners to scramble to meet the new demands. Production is outsourced, new employees are hired, and growth ultimately happens. Well, that’s the goal. The fact is, some businesses are more successful than others. Some flourish beyond expectations and others don’t do much at all.

In the Bible, there’s a story of a priest who flourished beyond the others.

1 Chronicles 24:4 A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. 

Eleazar’s family was a leadership factory! There were twice as many leaders found from his descendants than Ithamar’s descendants. We don’t know why this was or how he did it, we simply know that his family was full of leaders. Were they just inherently great leaders or was it more than that? I’d like to believe it was more that that; because leaders are developed. Leaders are trained, equipped, challenged. Leaders are given opportunity to lead and to learn.

Often, we just stand by and hope some great leaders show up to help us do the work. We pray that God would send us people that can lead alongside us. But the truth is, leaders don’t just appear; leaders are made. If we want leaders, we must train leaders. If we want a legacy of leaders, we must become a leadership factory. Be intentional with your children. Be intentional with your grandchildren. Look for potential leaders around you and begin to invest in them. 

Eleazar was a leadership factory. You can be, too.