1 Chronicles 23:7-32 (Part 1) – Where Does Church Rank In Your Other 50%?

Posted: May 22, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 23:7-32 (Part 1 of 2)

The Levite Clans & Their Duties

This thought struck me this morning. What are you doing for your church in the other 50%? We spend 50% of our life at work or sleeping. That’s the thing that churches struggle with these days. Where does church rank in that other 50% in our people’s lives?

Last night, I had a meeting with our usher team concerning what Sunday mornings are going to look like for the foreseeable future (at least through the end of August 2020) as we begin worshiping indoors and holding regular meetings and such as a church once again (beginning Sunday, June 14th). In the protocols that were developed by the administrative council and me, we are going to increase the workload on Sunday mornings of our ushers exponentially. They will be called upon to monitor social distancing and the wellness procedures that we have put in place for in-person gatherings. Church is going to look different when we go back indoors. It is going to require our ushers to step up their game. Each one last night seemed willing to take on the procedures as they were laid out to them. It was pleasing to see that each one of the 17 guys on our team were eager to help and did not balk at having to do what was being presented to them. Without their support in this, we would not be able to go back inside and if they do not do their jobs, as presented, Sunday mornings will be a disorganized mess. That reminded me that even in the best of times at church, that we need faithful, available and willing volunteers to grab hold of their ministries and run with them with passion. Otherwise, the church becomes disorganized and stagnant.

It got me to thinking about our crisis response. You would think that it is simpler to worship outdoors, but it’s not. Even now when we are worshiping in “car church” or “parking lot church”, a team of three of my ushers (Rocky, James, and Harry) it would fall apart. Without my wife, the church services would only be observed by those brave enough to come in cars. Without the proper review of the sound system each week by Butch and me, it would not work. Without the contributing singers that we have had (Alan, Butch and Sarah Hannah), the services would have been less inspiring. Without contributions from my administrative assistant, Ann, and her husband, Hamer, some of the special event things we have done and will be doing at car church would have fallen flat.

That’s the idea that came to mind this morning. We need folks at church, mine, yours, anybody’s church, that are passionate about the mission and vision of the church. Without church members volunteering in their ministries and being passionate about those ministries the church becomes stagnant and begins to falter and fail. Without our ushers on Sunday mornings on any Sunday and especially now in these new protocols, Sunday mornings would be disorganized. And yet it extends beyond Sunday mornings too. We need passionate and willing and available people in all areas of the church ministries. The church lives on outside of Sunday morning and for us to be an impactful church in expanding God’s kingdom we must have those passionate people, those willing people, and those available people. With that in mind, let us look at how a whole tribe of people helped make sure the Temple operated to the glory of God. Let’s read 1 Chronicles 23:7-32 now:

7 The Gershonite family units were defined by their lines of descent from Libni[a] and Shimei, the sons of Gershon. 8 Three of the descendants of Libni were Jehiel (the family leader), Zetham, and Joel. 9 These were the leaders of the family of Libni.

Three of the descendants of Shimei were Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran. 10 Four other descendants of Shimei were Jahath, Ziza,[b] Jeush, and Beriah. 11 Jahath was the family leader, and Ziza was next. Jeush and Beriah were counted as a single family because neither had many sons.

12 Four of the descendants of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 13 The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses. Aaron and his descendants were set apart to dedicate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s presence, to serve the Lord, and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.

14 As for Moses, the man of God, his sons were included with the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. 16 The descendants of Gershom included Shebuel, the family leader. 17 Eliezer had only one son, Rehabiah, the family leader. Rehabiah had numerous descendants.

18 The descendants of Izhar included Shelomith, the family leader. 19 The descendants of Hebron included Jeriah (the family leader), Amariah (the second), Jahaziel (the third), and Jekameam (the fourth).

20 The descendants of Uzziel included Micah (the family leader) and Isshiah (the second). 21 The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. 22 Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. 23 Three of the descendants of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.

24 These were the descendants of Levi by clans, the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name. Each had to be twenty years old or older to qualify for service in the house of the Lord. 25 For David said, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has given us peace, and he will always live in Jerusalem. 26 Now the Levites will no longer need to carry the Tabernacle and its furnishings from place to place.” 27 In accordance with David’s final instructions, all the Levites twenty years old or older were registered for service.

28 The work of the Levites was to assist the priests, the descendants of Aaron, as they served at the house of the Lord. They also took care of the courtyards and side rooms, helped perform the ceremonies of purification, and served in many other ways in the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the sacred bread that was set out on the table, the choice flour for the grain offerings, the wafers made without yeast, the cakes cooked in olive oil, and the other mixed breads. They were also responsible to check all the weights and measures. 30 And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to him. 31 They assisted with the burnt offerings that were presented to the Lord on Sabbath days, at new moon celebrations, and at all the appointed festivals. The required number of Levites served in the Lord’s presence at all times, following all the procedures they had been given.

32 And so, under the supervision of the priests, the Levites watched over the Tabernacle and the Temple[c] and faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord.

In this passage, we see that the priests and the Levites had different jobs in and around the Temple. Priests were authorized to perform the sacrifices. The priests were of the Levite clan but had be of the line of Aaron, the first high priest and brother of Moses. The Levite clan in total was set apart for service to the Lord. Those clans outside of Aaron’s were set apart to help the priests. They did the work of elders, deacons, custodians, assistants to the priests, musicians, moving men, and maintenance workers. Both priests and Levites were supported by Israel’s tithes and by the revenues generated in the towns dotted around Israel that had been given to them, according to the Law. Worship in the House of the Lord could not have taken place without the combined efforts of the priests and Levites. Their responsibilities were different, but they were equally important to God’s plan. No matter what place of service you have in church, you are important to the healthy functioning of the congregation.

For us in the 21st century church, we must have people that are like my ushers – faithful, willing, and passionate about what they do. We need people that see their service to the church in whatever role they are playing as necessary to the expansion of the kingdom and as necessary in making sure our members have an environment in which they are properly discipled. The pastor should not be the only one who is passionate about these two functions of the church. Everyone must be – in whatever capacity they serve the church.

Those who lead and participate in each ministry of the church must see their ministry as important – as important to their life as their secular job, their secular hobbies, and so on. There is nothing more important that the expansion of the kingdom and the deepening of the faith of existing citizens of the kingdom. We must have passion for our ministries that we serve in. If you are in outreach, youth ministry, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, ushering, security, worship team (choir and altar/sanctuary prep team), or any other ministry at your church, it should be your heart and soul 24/7/365 and drive you to action in that 50% of your life that you are not working at your secular job or are sleeping. It should drive you to take your ministry leadership role and dive into it like you do your responsibilities in your secular job. When we view our church and its mission as the most important thing in our lives and not just a nice add-on to our lives that we can focus on only when it suits us and we can work it after all the other things we place importance on, just imagine the impact a church can have on its own people and on the community in which the proclaim the gospel. When church becomes our passion and not just something we do on weekends and when it fits into our schedule, imagine what the impact on the kingdom of God will be.

Let us be that passionate church. Let us be filled with members who view their role in their church as their top priority. Let us be filled with members who are passionate about the ministries that they are part of and give it passion and life. Let us give God glory through our passion for Him.

Amen and Amen.

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