Lately I have felt swamped. When I had to close my music studio doors because concerti and German lieder accompaniments do not generally come in large print editions, I thought I would sit here and die of boredom.
Not so. Between a husband who keeps making suggestions about things to do—like blogs—and women who are no longer satisfied with canned Bible class materials, and other women who want weekend studies and lectures, and an editor who wants one or two devotional books a year, an elderly mother to care for, and grandchildren who need my companionship and wisdom, I have plenty to do. I am thankful for it. God demands work from His people, and despite a growing disability, I still have much to do. So do you.
So how did I get this from the psalms study? Think for a minute. What did God ordain the Levites to do? Just because they could not all be priests did not mean some were free to pursue other activities.
Levites were assistants to the priests. They did the clean-up after the sacrifices, some of the nastiest cleaning you can imagine, including hideous laundry stains. They took care of the animals. They baked the shewbread. When the tabernacle was moved, they did the setting up and tearing down, packing and unpacking. You can read chapter after chapter in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and see these men working. None of them were idlers.
So what happened after the Temple was built? Some of the original duties were no longer necessary and new ones developed. Now you can read chapter after chapter in 1 and 2 Chronicles and see new duties, ordained by God just as the original ones were. They were musicians, every bit as professional as a symphony orchestra member today, every bit as trained as a singer on the operatic stage. They were security guards. I even found a passage stating they were to unlock the Temple every morning, which I suppose means they made the rounds and locked it in the evening too. Many of the other duties were the same. They still needed bakers. They still needed launderers. They still needed metal smiths and janitors and husbandmen. I doubt that covers it by any stretch of the imagination.
The same frame of mind that causes us to work for God provokes work in the earthly realm as well, because that, too, is working for God. He ordained work in this physical world from the time He made man: The Lord took the man and put him in the garden to work it and keep it, Gen 2:15. The only thing sin changed was how difficult that work was going to be, not the fact of it.
The scriptures say that we are to work for our employers (“Masters”) heartily, as unto the Lord, Col 3:23. It says whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, Eccl 9:10. It calls those who do not work lacking sense (Prov 24:20), disorderly (2 Thes 3:11), brother to a destroyer (Prov 18:9), and wicked (Matt 25:26). It says that a man who will not go out and work is “robbing his parents,” (Prov 28:24). It says if we don’t work, we shouldn’t be allowed to eat (2 Thes 3:10).
God reinforced all of that when He gave the Levites their duties in his Tabernacle and then when He changed those duties to suit the Temple. He didn’t tell one group, “Since there is no longer any need to pack and unpack, to set up and tear down, you no longer need to work.” He simply gave them new work to do.
And who are the priests and Levites today? We are (1 Pet 2:9). Peter said it was right for him to continue to teach “as long as I am in this body,” 2 Pet 1:13. The same applies to us. As long as we are above ground, as long as we are breathing, we serve God. The duties may change, just as they did for those Levites, but the requirement to work does not. You do what you can as the opportunity arises—that’s what those talents in the parable represent—opportunities--not your personal perception of your own “talent.” God knows exactly what gift He gave you and the opportunities He gives you. Use them.
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4.