Sometimes we get so caught up in jealousy about the calling of others, we fail to properly embrace and fulfill our own calling. Today we consider the value of minding our own business and focusing on taking hold of the purpose and calling God has for us…
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. 3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. 4 Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. 5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”
6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. 7 Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.
8 The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.
10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.
12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?”
The grumbling of the arrogant in Moses’ day was legendary. Whether people were gunning for Moses or Aaron and his sons, there seemed to be a self-righteous bitterness in the tribes because God granted certain responsibilities to some over others. It reminds me of the disciples of Jesus arguing with themselves over who is the greatest (Luke 9).
And it also reminds me of Jesus’ words to Peter about the disciple John. When Jesus told Peter what kind of death he would die in John 21, Peter asked, well, what about John? And Jesus replied, what is it to you if he lives until I come? What is it to you? This is the point. We get so caught up in the lot of others, we fail to properly embrace and fulfill our own lots.
This was Israel’s issue.
God will reveal to his people whom he calls for acts of service. The budding and fruitful staff of Aaron demonstrates God’s choice. The sad part about the story is that Israel needed to experience plague and death (see Numbers 16) to listen to the voice of God, which had already been clearly speaking to them.
Do we do the same today in our circles? We might do this at work or at school or in the home and the church. We do. And we need to stop. Paul’s advice in Philippians 3 is wrapped up in his explanation of his own approach to life. We would do well to follow it: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” (Philippians 3:12).
Rather than being preoccupied with the situation and perceived blessing of our neighbours, we ought to focus on taking hold of the purpose and calling and blessing God has for us. Just like for Israel, God has set us up with different callings in life. He fashioned us into a body in which some are arms while others are toes or eyes or ears.
Celebrate and honour God’s call upon your life today.