Points to Ponder: The Significance of Insignificance
Points to Ponder
The Significance of Insignificance
Is there any job that is insignificant or any portion one can give too small? In the account of Israel's journey from Sinai to the Promised Land, God directs Moses to take a census of the people. God Himself chose, by name, those who would help with the task.
"These are the names of the men who shall stand with you ... Then Moses and Aaron took these men who had been mentioned by name..." (Numbers 1:5 and 17).
Imagine being one of those twelve handpicked men - and that it was God's hand that picked you. They heard the call to duty first from Moses and Aaron. But their names had been "mentioned" to them from heaven.
Counting heads may seem like a menial task. Out of the hundreds of thousands in the camp, why not leave it to Moses to just pick out some guys? Isn't it interesting that God would concern Himself with such a seemingly minor front line personnel issue? But then, in chapter 10, we find that these men are to be leaders of their respective tribes. When the formation and march from Sinai to Canaan began, these twelve would organize and lead their people. Humble beginnings are usually the launching point for bigger things.
What would it be like to have been one of those twelve? You're drawing pictures in the sand with your kids, or snacking on some baked manna in your tent, then the call comes. Moses and Aaron need to do a head count, they sent for you by name to help.
Was it because you're good at math? More likely, it was a character issue. Can you be trusted to complete the task? However it would be done, Moses and Aaron called you. But before that, God chose you. Who better than the One who "formed you in the womb" (Jeremiah 1:5) would know what you can do?
Counting heads. Seems like anybody could do that. Menial task, what's the big deal? That's what we may tend to think. We grade a duty or a job by the subjective standard of how highly (or lowly) we regard it. In this case, we could say that it's a job anybody could do; so let them pick somebody else. Or we might shrug our shoulders, resign ourselves to the task, and just "get 'er done." Is there any duty that's beneath you?
Who determines the significance of an assignment? The one assigning it or the one doing it? Perhaps both. But the Bible gives us a higher standard, which guides us in even the lowest of tasks.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." (Ecclesiastes 9:10a).
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" (Colossians 3:23).
The true significance of the thing you are doing lies in the attitude with which it is done. At least as far as you are concerned.
I can trace back through my work history and list every job I didn't like. Some were boring or just drudgery. I am glad I don't have to do them today; BUT everyone of those jobs played a role in what I am doing now. As much as I hated some of those jobs, Dad always taught me that your name goes on your work. It's about character and integrity.
Maybe that's why God named those particular twelve men for Moses to call. He knew how they would regard the task. Attitude does influence action.
These men were leaders. And it should interest us that God knew them personally and named them for a role in His grander plan of moving Israel onward toward the goal.
Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life. Every grand destination begins with one small step. How you walk through the small stuff in the beginning will determine how and where you land in the end.
"...what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?" (II Peter 3:11b).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.