Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“At the Lord’s command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry.” ~Leviticus 4:49
While every Israelite was called to glorify God, some of the people were selected to lead the community in worship. Of the two groups of leaders, the priests functioned as the pastors while the Levites provided assistance. The Levites were subdivided even further and given specific responsibilities. God covered every detail of tabernacle care from tapestries to tent pegs.
The modern worshipping community also has been provided with leaders to guide it. And like the priests and Levites, each leader is specially gifted and assigned his or her work (Eph. 4:11-12). It is important for churches to understand that each spiritual leader within the church has been gifted a certain way and is called to serve with those gifts. No one person has all of the skills necessary to serve the church community, preach, teach, lead, counsel, comfort, visit, organize, clean, budget, discipline, hire, manage, ad infinitim. When church members expect this of a lone leader, they are not only being unreasonable but completely unbiblical as well (see 1 Cor. 3). It took me awhile to learn that I can’t do it all. But when I focus on the areas where I’m most gifted, making room for God to use others in areas where they are most gifted, it’s a win-win-win (me, the other leaders, the worshipping community)! God’s plan from the beginning has been to use many people applying a diversity of gifts to meet the needs of the worshipping community.
Church leaders are not the only ones who bear gifts; every Christ-follower has gift(s). Each of us has been put together in a certain way for the good of the church, the growth of the kingdom, and the glory of God (1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4:11-16). No one person can be the church alone. The worship of God is, and always has been, the work of a community. The church needs leaders, helpers, teachers, organizers, givers, encouragers, greeters, servers, singers, counselors, et al. Every person gives his or her life as a living sacrifice in service to God; every one brings glory to Him with his or her contribution (Rom. 12:1-8). But we sacrifice, contribute, serve, and worship together. This community is so important that Jesus said it is our first family (Mk. 3:34-35).
Do you appreciate and celebrate the unique way God has gifted the spiritual leaders of your church community? Do you encourage them in their work? Have you discovered the ways that you are gifted so that you can bring God glory? Are you doing something to help make your community a better place? Think about it. Better yet, do something about it.