The importance of your role in life
Have respect for the role you play in the world
Ezra 8 : 16 - 36
One thing we should always remember in Church is that Jesus is the source of everything, we are in Church because of him. He is the beginning and the end the source of everything good and beautiful! To Jesus all the glory!
Today Jesus talks to us about our purpose in life, our official position. Your official position in life is what you are and what you can do. For instance, according to Jesus you are all princes, princesses, priests and kings, teachers and prophets, sisters and brothers and numerous other official names and titles attached to you by Jesus and the apostles!
Jesus says, we all have a place, a role to play in this world. We are important and what we do is important. We must respect our role and our status no matter what. We must have reverence for our place in this world, no matter how meager or how humble we must just respect it. Be astonished, be amazed, by who you are and what you can do in this world!
Think for a moment about Jesus himself, He respected His job and suffered because of it. His job was perilous and hard but he never shyed away from it. He didn’t receive any salary. He wasn’t formally employed, never received a golden handshake. Although he made no mistake, worked very hard and cost nobody a cent he died as a criminal. Regardless of all this, he did his work impeccably!
This morning we read about Ezra. He had a job, he was a Priest, teacher of the law of the God of heaven. He was addressed by King Artaxerxes with that title. He was proud of his job and ready to do anything his job asked from him!
I want to tell you a story of what happened to me right here in this Church. When we had the holiday club during last week, Allan, a lay preacher from the Methodist church, arrived to work in the garden. I was amazed to see him cut the hedges.
Now, Allan is not young anymore and he has many other duties on his farm. He is a busy man and what is more he needs a knee replacement. He told me when I asked him about his limping. I felt sorry for him and thought he shouldn’t do all this hard work in the church garden.
But as he was cutting hedges and as it was a specialised job I found it to be good and fine. The next day Alan arrived again, this time he took a broom and went outside. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Thinking about all his responsibilities on the farm and his sore knee, I said Allan, what are you going to do now! He said, he is going to clean the pathway, then I said: “No you can’t … Shouldn’t I do it for you!”
Allan got annoyed with me, looked at me and said: “Listen, this is my little job, you go on and do your own little job!”
I suddenly realised, what he said, is true and evidence of great insight and wisdom! Jesus gave us all a little job, no matter what your condition, and woe to us if we don’t do that job!
Ezra was perfectly happy being a teacher of God. He accepted full responsibility to be a teacher and all that this job entails. He stuck to his little job no matter what, and that is the way it is. He took his job very seriously he devoted himself to study, observance and teaching that is what the Bible says about Him. He wasn’t sitting around you know! He was doing his job fully and completely.
His job also brought him to much more than he bargained for. It plunged him into logistics, he had to take a lot of cargo back to Jerusalem. The King of Persia decreed that the temple in Jerusalem must be restored to its former glory. Ezra had to transport all the valuable items which belonged in the temple on foot in a very dangerous environment with bandits swarming the place!
As a teacher of the law of God he had also to show his trust in this God of heaven and be prepared to take risks in order to experience His providence. He had to put his money where his mouth was. He told King Artaxerxes that the God they serve is a God that will protect them and guard them in all circumstances. So that is exactly what Ezra did. He trusted God as he taught others to do. Without any security staff to accompany them they started transporting a lot of valuable items back to Jerusalem. A Journey that took them five months. They all carefully divided everything among themselves and started the journey back home. This was part of his “little” job and he had to complete it. As it is clearly shown in the bible. He completed his little job, without a glitch. When they reached Jerusalem everything was accounted for, a job well done!
What is your little job? What is your role or official position in Life? Earthly jobs could run out quickly but jobs in the Kingdom of heaven will ever run out. Your day job or your official job in life is the job you are appointed for and what God wants you to do. You must devote yourself to this job and do anything you can to better yourself. And just like it was with Ezra your job could take you to unfamiliar areas as well. Don’t wince don’t hesitate just go on.
If however you don’t have an earthly job anymore then you have to look for a job in the Kingdom of God. Well, let’s go through some of the jobs and roles available. Ezra had Priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, descendants of servants and descendants. All these jobs had to do with the ancient temple, they are redundant today. Today there are many other jobs we can do. What about being an intercessor? Yes you can be an intercessor, that is what Paul urges us to do! We must intercede for people, especially those in Authority. They are the ones who messed up our lives recently, aren’t they? People in government have a huge responsibility that is why Paul urges us, in the name of peace and quiet, please intercede for people in authority.
I urge then, first of all, that requests, and prayers of intercession be made for everyone, especially for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2 : 1
Praying for leaders and officials can be a good job to do don’t you think? There however is much more to do. There are a lot of vacancies in the administration of the Kingdom of God! You are somebody’s family aren’t you? Like Boas he was Ruth’s redeemer, that mean he was a family member who had a special job towards his kin. He had to buy the land and marry the widow of a diseased family member.
“Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman redeemer
nearer than I. Stay hear for the night, and in the morning if he wants
to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely
as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here till morning.” Ruth 3 : 12 – 13
You may have children or a brother or a sister? You are somebody’s cousin or second cousin. You may have nieces and nephews, brothers or sisters in law? You may be an uncle or aunt to somebody. Once Jesus’ family wanted to come and rescue him from working too hard or burning himself out. They heard about his extremely busy ministry and then decided to interfere. When Jesus heard they were looking for him he said, all believers are my family! Jesus saw everybody as His family! We are family to everybody, support and pray and intercede for people you know and love!
I want to tell you another story. In Ireland you find hedges all over the country. When I first came to Ireland the hedges seemed like a bad idea to me. I come from a country with many open spaces and nothing interferes with the view. I felt that the hedges should be cut down so people could see the fields and the countryside. You will get many more tourists if you just cut the hedges, that is what I thought.
Till one day when I was cycling and the wind was blowing very strong. Every time I rode behind a hedge I could feel how easy it was to cycle. Whenever there is no hedge I moved slowly and the wind pushed me back. Suddenly I realised the importance of hedges, they work very well as wind barriers. And from one of my friends I heard that hedges do much more, they shelter birds and small animals like badgers, hedgehogs and rabbits. So the hedges have a very important role, job or position. It is a job recognized by government and regulated by law. Whenever I walk or ride alongside the hedges now I respect them! And what is more, they speak to me, they say: “This is our little job, you go and do yours!”
Many people have been confronted with their office in life all over the years. Let’s think of them and see how they handled it. Jesus is the first one. He was asked by Pilate: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Yes, I am, said Jesus, a little different than what Saul did, he had to be reminded about his kingship. Jesus was perfectly aware of the role he has to play in the affairs of the world! The second person is Ezra. King Artaxerxes asked him: “Are you the priest Ezra” Yes I am He did his job equally good!
Peter is the third person, he failed dismally. The young slave girl in a house asked him: “Are you not one of his disciples?” “No I am not” he said. Peter couldn’t handle his little job at that stage in his life, he however had to make up for it later. He got a second chance!
What about you then? Are you so and so? If you answer: “Yes I am!”, then fulfill your task and do your little job, this is what Jesus ask from us. He did his little (Huge) job, so you go and do yours! You are important and what you do is important. God will help you to do your job impeccably!
“The hand of our God was on us, he protected us from our enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem where we rested three days.” Ezra 8 : 31
If the government protect hedges in Ireland to do their job how much more will God help you to play your role in the world. How much more will God in his providence and love for you, help and sustain you to do your job. He promises he will keep his hand upon you always and every day!
You are important and what you do is important no matter how small! Be devoted to your task and reliable in your position and just carry on with your good work! If you are reliable in small tasks God will be able to trust you with big ones!
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