Numbers 8:5-26 (Part 6) – Doing Whatever It Takes To Get The Job Done…

Posted: August 3, 2016 in 04-Numbers

Numbers 8:5-26 (Part 6)

The Levites Dedicated

As the controller of my company, I stand in a unique position. I physically work (with my three assisting employees) in a different location than the rest of the personnel of my company. I am an employee of Fujikura America, Inc. which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, but we are part of a larger US group of Fujikura companies which then are part of the global Fujikura organization that is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. I work out the administrative headquarters of the whole US group, the home of the US parent company, in Duncan, SC (in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina). The uniqueness of this situation is that my boss is on the west coast and I work on the east coast. My boss does not see me except when I fly out west for our bi-monthly management team meetings. Sure, we talk on the phone, exchange emails daily but he does not see what I do every day. He does not see the extreme level of dedication that I have to my job on a daily basis. He does not see the 50-55 hours a week I work. And at month-end when we have to close the books and report results to Japan, he does not see my 15 hour work days during those two days of getting the books closed and two days of preparing the month-end analysis reports. Although the results are what counts and I produce results to the point of being considered a valuable employee in our organization. And, if I was not dedicated to my craft and a person who seeks to be excellent in everything I do regardless of whether anybody sees it or not, I could be very lazy and do just enough to get by. Would another person be as dedicated to this job in that one day when I leave this position? I am not sure. Maybe they would be smarter and figure out ways to reduce the workload of my position that I cannot see. Then, again, maybe in this age where it seems those behind us generationally seem to have this sense of entitlement where they do not wish to put out the same level of hard work as generations past. Will the next person in my job have that same “do whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter what” attitude that is just my nature. Sometimes, I wish that I could care less than I do about my job and cut corners and not seek to be perfect in every aspect of it. However, this mentality that I carry with me started right at the beginning of my professional career.


I am simply a person who works hard no matter what, no matter who’s looking. It’s just how I am made. I guess it goes back to the early years of my career. Back in those days, I was an internal auditor most of those early years. Back then, I had jobs where I worked for large international companies where I would have to travel around the nation and, in some of those jobs, the globe to perform audits of the business operations of these large companies. We would be sent out to do internal audits of these operations and we would be sent out to get the job done in two weeks, sometimes three, but mainly two. We would have a massive amount of work to get done. If we simply worked 8 hour days, these audits would have taken us a month to six weeks to complete. However, we had to get them done in two weeks. It meant long hours. We would work at least 10 hours a day on site and then maybe another 4 or 5 hours back at the hotel in our respective rooms after dinner. It was the results that mattered. We knew we had to get the done and we did what it took to get it done. Sure, we could have been slackers and not done the detailed work and had flimsy audit reports with little meat to them of any value. However, to see the inefficiencies, waste, errors or to identify how the business unit was padding their results and quantifying how out of sync with reality their financial statements were, we had to dig deep, investigate, document our findings, think of positive recommendations to correct problems. We had to put in the work to produce value for our company as the team of objective eyes. It was hard, hard work. Getting the job done without a lot of ego-stroking. Getting the job done without the boss around. Taking care of details because without it there would be no excellence. Striving for excellence when no one was looking. I learned these work habits early in my professional career. It was tough living through those years being away from wife and young kids for two weeks or more at time. Running your personal life remotely. Determining when you can do things in your personal life in those weeks sandwiched between business trips. It was tough. However, looking back on it now (as I approach my 54th birthday this month and am in the 32nd year of my professional career – wow, where did all that time go), I am thankful for those years as internal auditor. It taught me that being excellent matters regardless of who is looking or not. It taught me you have to be self-starter and not care about getting pats on the back daily for what you. It taught me to do what’s in front of you because it has to be done. It taught me that, like a football player, if you want results when it matters (for a player that’s on game day), you have to do the hard work and have dedication to your task when the spotlight is not on. Those years instilled that kind of work ethic in me. I am thankful to God that I had to go through that experience as a traveling internal auditor. Without it, I would not have had the success that I now enjoy in my career. I would not have been as successful in my current job where my boss is on the other side of the country. Those audit years taught me to work without supervision and taught me to take on tasks with little guidance as to how to do them and figure it out. Man, when I think back on it, those internal audit years where I was trudging away in far away places and getting the job done taught me so many things that have been useful to me in my career and in my life as a whole.


It was that idea of doing what is necessary to get the job done, of doing the details when no one thanks you for them, of seeking excellence no matter what because it is a glory to God is what I thought about as I read through this passage one again today.


Let’s read the full passage together and then let’s concentrate on v. 15-19 for today after we have read through it:


5 The Lord said to Moses: 6 “Take the Levites from among all the Israelites and make them ceremonially clean. 7 To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. And so they will purify 3themselves. 8 Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of the finest flour mixed with olive oil; then you are to take a second young bull for a sin offering.[a] 9 Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community. 10 You are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them. 11 Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.


12 “Then the Levites are to lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, using one for a sin offering to the Lord and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the Lord. 14 In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.


15 “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting. 16 They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. 17 Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel. 19 From among all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons to do the work at the tent of meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.”


20 Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses. 21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord and made atonement for them to purify them. 22 After that, the Levites came to do their work at the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. They did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses.


23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”


Here we see the Levites being set apart for service in the Tabernacle. They did all the detailed work of the Tabernacle to make it function properly. It probably was work that was not glamorous. Especially, when you think about the times that the Israelites would be on the move. They would have to tear down the tabernacle, pack it up for transport, transport all its component parts over the journey from one place to the next, and then unpack all the component parts, and then set them up again when they had reached the next stop. While stationary, the Levites did the behind the scenes work of the Tabernacle. It was all the necessary work of the tabernacle to make it function properly. When you think about the Levites, you think oh wow they got to be at the tabernacle of the Lord all the time. They were close to the action. They could be seen by all as part of the tabernacle operations. They were probably “in-the-know” when it came to important stuff about the temple. It seemed glamorous right? I think the Levites had more work in anonymity that you might think. They did the hard work of the tabernacle operations. They made sure everything worked. They made sure everything was in good repair. Probably a large part of what they did went unnoticed by many. Probably the only time they were recognized was when something did not work the way it was supposed to.


And then there was the messiness of the animal sacrifices. They were the guys who probably had to clean up the mess after all the sacrifices were done. They were the ones that cleaned everything. They were the behind the scenes guys – kind of like that little guy at basketball games that comes out and cleans up sweat from the basketball floor after players have taken a tumble unto the floor. They were the little guys at tennis matches that stand by the net and chase down stray balls when they hit the net so the players don’t have to. They were the guys at the football games that get the balls back from the crowd after a pass sails high into the stands, or when a field goal misses the net behind the goal. They are the guys who raise the net behind the uprights at a football game when a team is kicking a field goal. The Levites were like that. They did some of the thankless jobs of the temple. They had tasks to do and they did whatever it took to get the job done. It did not matter if they got patted on the back for it. They just did their job because it was the results (a seamless, smooth operating tabernacle) that mattered. They did the hard work of the temple not because they were expecting glory from the people Israel but rather because they were doing it for the glory of the Lord.


That’s the takeaway this morning. We may not get publicity for being a Christ follower and we should not be seeking it for what we do as Christ followers. We give, we share, we love, we assist, we help, we do the jobs that are assigned to us because that is what Christ expects us of us. We do what we do because we love our Savior. Sometimes, we may be even asked to do tasks that are behind-the-scenes stuff that nobody sees and nobody recognizes until it is not done. We do what we do, we do what we are assigned because we want to give God the glory. It doesn’t matter who on this side of eternity notices. We know that we are giving glory to our Lord by being in His service. We clean the toilets at church because we want the House of the Lord to be spotless and clean not because of recognition but because we want God to be glorified. We help our friends in need not because we want our picture in the newspaper. We do it because we want God to be glorified. We do the jobs that need doing so God will be glorified. We do the behind-the-scenes work that nobody notices but God does. He sees our desire to please Him by being excellent in what we do for Him. He sees that we give our best to Him not our leftovers. We give our best to our church as we would our jobs because we want God to be honored by what we do. We don’t do half-ass when it comes to the Lord because He did more than half-ass for us. He saved us through His own Son’s death to allow us to be reconciled to Him. How can I not give the Lord my best even when I clean the toilets at the church? How can I not give the Lord my best when I do anything. It’s all thankgiving to Him for what He did in Jesus for me. That’s what matters! Giving glory to God in everything we do!


Amen and Amen.

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