Ezra And The Church

I’ve been meditating on the need for all the believers within the body of Christ these past months in my readings in Ezra. In Chapter 8, Ezra is gathering leading men from Israel to go up with him into Jerusalem.

In verse 15 he assembles them all together and sees the people and the priests but finds no Levites. “Wait a minute! Aren’t the priests Levites? What does he mean there are no Levites…there are priests!”

Well, even though priests CAME from the tribe of Levi, they were often considered priests and as different from Levites, with their very specific duties in ministering before the Lord in their rotation. The Levites had other duties. They were the servants of the temple.

I think in our church culture today, we’d look at the priests as the pastors, deacons, teachers; those who are visibly out front in ministry. We often consider them to be the “spiritually mature” ones simply because they are in front. But who would the Levites be in today’s church?

They are the servants, the ones we don’t see, the ones who are in the background setting up chairs, taking down tables, making sure all the potluck dishes have been washed They are vital to the smooth working of the church body. They are the faithful behind the scenes servants, the ones who are the prayer warriors, the ones who make sure the pastor has water for when he preaches or that all the Sunday School supplies are ordered and distributed. They are the ones most people in the church never think about. (and just for the record, I think their hearts of faithful service require much greater spiritual maturity than someone who speaks and is in the limelight!)

But I absolutely LOVE Ezra’s response: he wouldn’t take one step forward until there were Levites among them. And they ended up calling together 220 men, whose families had been designated by David and recognized and called by name. These were not men of obscurity before God or before those in charge, even if the rest of the people didn’t know them by name. God did and they were given honor before God and men.

It made me think of Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.

For me, this says so much about who are in the body of Christ. As we serve faithfully, with the power of the Spirit and for His glory, with skill and excellence, we WILL stand before kings, we WILL receive honor. I just think this is so cool. When we do what God has called us to do, He WILL give us rewards, and even do that before men. No need for us to make sure we get glory. We can focus on God’s glory and leave the rest up to Him.

by Kate Megill (c) 2010

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