“And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute (perform) the service of the Lord.”Numbers 8:10-11
Rebekah and I attended a small church when we were first married. The congregation had around 60-70 people on a Sunday morning, and only about half of that on a Wednesday evening. We began attending the church prior to getting married, and we invited the whole church to attend our wedding. We sort of grew up in that church as we faced the challenges of marriage, work, and a new life together. We were wet behind the ears in a lot of ways, and we did not know a whole lot, although I think we thought we did. We learned a lot in that church, and the church was kind to us. We were sort of the darlings in the small church at the time, and I will never forget the church’s expression when we shared some big news.
I remember telling our pastor that Rebekah was pregnant with our first baby, and he was quite excited for me. We wanted to hold off in telling the whole church as there were pregnancy milestones to move past, and we just thought it would be best to wait. The time came when I told our pastor he could share with the congregation the good news, and when he did, there was a collective gasp in the congregation and then some clapping. The gasp was from those who were excited for us as we were entering into a new chapter into our lives. We were going from footloose and fancy-free young marrieds to people who would desperately need sleep, although we did not know it at the time. We received congratulatory hugs and handshakes, and we were on cloud nine as we awaited our little one. I could see the joy in the people’s faces and it matched the joy we held in our hearts.
We were raised in church, and we wanted to raise our children in church as well. We had desires and plans for our children, and we wanted them to grow in the Lord and serve Him. Our firstborn came soon enough and we took him to church the first week of his life. People clamored all over him, and we became “Nate’s mom and dad” and seemed to lose our original identity. We told our pastor we would like to dedicate him to the Lord, and he obliged and set up a baby dedication for our son. I remember holding Nate as our pastor, dad and other men prayed over him, and I remember the prayers that he would be a godly man – a man who would serve God, and a man who would follow after God and do right. We wanted him to do the service of the Lord, and the desire for him to do so is still our prayer for him.
We had another child and we dedicated her as well, and we prayed the same prayers over her. We desired that she would serve the Lord, and we desired that she would put God first in her own life. We desired that God would use our children for His service, whether that be in full-time Christian ministry or in a secular job. We have learned that there is no greater place to be than in the center of God’s will. God’s plan is always best whether it be in the jungles of South America or teaching a Sunday School class in the states.
The Levites were set apart and dedicated to do the service of the Lord. They were to be a help to Aaron the priest, and they were to serve in the temple. The will of God for their lives was to be of service to the Lord in the worshipping in His temple. This offering before the Lord was a high calling, and one that was not taken lightly. What a tremendous thing to be called into the service of the Lord and to be set apart for that purpose. You may not be called into full time church ministry, but God has called you into His service and He desires that you would be found busy in His work.
Where are you today friend? Have you dedicated your life to the service of the Lord? Are you busy about your own work and disinterested in the work of the Lord? Do you lift the pastor’s hands or are you too busy stabbing him in the back? Are you set apart unto the Lord, or are you set apart to “Sunday fun day”? God desires that we get busy in His service in whatever He has called us to do, and there is nothing better to dedicate your life to than the service of the Lord. Psalm 100:2 states, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” May we serve our king with a willing and joyful heart, and may we cherish the days we get to serve Him.