Archive for June, 2012

The Work and the Glory

So I read a good chunk of Exodus today as part of my “Through the Bible in 90 Days” plan. I am about a week behind where I should be, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, today I found myself slogging through the section in which the precise instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle were laid out. That was a little tough to get through. Measurements of gold, silver, bronze and acacia wood; purple, scarlet, goat’s hair, grating, poles, rings, curtains, “fine-twined linen” and the like. And just when I thought it was over, then comes the section in which the skilled workers come in and construct everything “according to the pattern.” To my dismay, the whole list is repeated – every blessed detail gone over a second time! I hate to admit that I was bored by the Bible, but in this particular instance, I was.

Then came chapter 40. In verse 34 it starts:

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

I was reminded of my first experience serving in full time ministry as a Youth Pastor. You come in fired up and ready to take on the world. You are expecting glory and excitement around every corner. They don’t tell you that much of your time in ministry is spent in an office, or on the phone, or in meetings, or planning events, or desperately trying to figure out why your painstaking efforts time and again seem to yield so little fruit.

I was also reminded of a discussion we had last night at Life Group about the importance of faithfulness. Matthew 25:23 says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” Promotion in the Kingdom comes through our faithfulness. That is, when we are consistent and content with the task to which we have been entrusted, we are counted worthy of greater responsibility and a wider sphere of influence.

At the beginning of a new project or ministry endeavor, motivation is easy and excitement is high. It usually only takes a couple of weeks before that’s gone, and all you’re left with is the work. I would have to imagine that’s how it felt in the construction of the tabernacle. First of all, all the gold and silver came in the form of earrings and bracelets. It had to be melted down and fashioned. Everything was from scratch. There was no Lowe’s or Home Depot. Add to that the probability that Moses was walking around all day going, “No! Not like that! This has to be PERFECT! God said so!” Yeah, I’ve had bosses like that…

But after all the work was done, after the countless painstaking hours, after a million mistakes, bruises, scrapes and cuts – the glory came. After frustration upon frustration, and failure upon failure – the glory came. After many long days and sleepless nights – the glory came. This is the reality of ministry. Nothing just happens. My Pastor once said, “It takes about 15 years to become an overnight success.” We can be assured that our work in the Lord is never in vain, we can know that after all the work is done, the glory will come. It’s interesting that when God’s glory came, Moses’ couldn’t do anything. I believe that’s the goal of ministry. To toil to make sure our ministry is a place where the presence and glory of God is welcomed, and then, when He shows up, we just sit back and watch God work.

The moral of the story. If you want the glory, you’ll have to do the work.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Categories: Bible, Life, Ministry