1 Chronicles, chapters 12-15

“Of the tribe of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do, there were 200 of their headmen, and all their brothers were under their command.”
~1 Chronicles 12:32

In the time of David, the tribe of Issachar consisted of 87,000 men registered to fight in his army (1 Chron. 7:5).
200 of them, who were particularly wise, headed the tribe.
If we divide 87,000 by 200, it means there was one commander per every 435 men.
Yet, “all their brothers were under their command.”
The men of the tribe of Issachar acted in unity because they humbly respected their elders’ knowledge and intentions (Prov. 14:8; Eccl. 7:19).

Jesus said of the people he tried to teach: “[…] Why do you not know how to examine this particular time?” (Luke 12:56).

Today’s congregation elders try to make us aware of the times we are living in so we do not fall asleep in a spiritual sense and risk losing our spiritual battle (Ro. 13:11,12; Eph. 6:12).
Most congregations worldwide have much fewer than 435 members each, and they benefit from a body of elders who are wise in years of service toward God and Biblical insight.
If the tribe of Issachar was able to carry out their work in unison, we should be able and willing to do the same in our own congregations.

1 Chronicles, chapters 8-11

Have you ever felt eager to volunteer but then in practice, felt out of place, as if you could be doing more in a different capacity?

First Chronicles chapter nine, verses 22-34 explains how the Levites were divided into sub-groups to perform specific duties.
There were the temple gatekeepers, there were those in charge of the temple utensils, those in charge of the bread, and the singers.
These duties were assigned by genealogy and all those assigned had to live in Jerusalem.
It did not matter if one of the Levites wanted to be a gatekeeper instead of preparing balsam oil. They accepted their assignment as privilege and their responsibility as heads of household.

They are a good example of humility and cooperation for those of us wishing to offer ourselves up to God for greater service within his organization.
We should not be picky when it comes to realizing assigned tasks, but see our “job” as an honor and do it whole-heartedly.

Numbers, chapters 30-32

Regarding any vow or any oath involving an abstinence vow to practice self-denial, her husband should establish it or her husband should annul it.
~Numbers 30:13

Under Mosaic Law, if a married Israelite woman made a vow to God, she had to communicate that vow to her husband that same day.

As head of the household, her husband had authority to either establish or annul the vow.

At first view, it seems God did not trust married women to make their own decisions, which could offend some of us.

However seeing it from a financial perspective it makes sense, because it was the husband’s responsibility to make ends meet and so any vow incurred by his wife might affect the family as a whole.

Let’s say for example that the wife vowed to donate 20% of the harvest instead of just the 10% the tithe required.

Now let’s imagine that in that year it did not really rain so there was not much grain to harvest and now they have more than five starving kids to feed.

It would make sense that the husband had the authority to annul his wife’s vow, ‘bearing the consequences of her guilt,’ (Nu. 30:15).

By requiring the vow to be communicated to her husband, the wife was also pressed to think twice before saying compromising things out of sentimentalism that were not thoroughly calculated.

Christian women are not obligated to have their husband’s approval before they enter spiritual compromises.

Many women in the first century converted to Christianity even when their husbands were unbelievers (1 Pet. 3:1).

However, the husband is still considered head of the household, so it is still wise on the part of a wife to communicate her decisions to him either before or soon after taking them, yielding to his advice whenever reasonable (Prov. 13:10; Acts 5:29; 1 Cor. 11:3).

She would thereby demonstrate respect for both Jehovah and her spouse and contribute to the whole family’s success.

Numbers, chapters 7-9

You must separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites will become mine.
~Nu. 8:14

All the families in Israel received a type of inheritance.
In most cases, the inheritance constituted of land, but in the Levites’ case, it was a spiritual inheritance.
The Levites had the privilege of carrying out Jehovah’s service in matters of worship.

God said to them, “In their land you will not have an inheritance, and no portion of land among them will become yours. I am your portion and your inheritance in the midst of the Israelites,” (Nu. 18:20).

Today, Christian ministers are not born into their service.
It is a conscientious choice each one of us makes.

However, being a dedicated servant of God still calls for a modest lifestyle which involves economical sacrifices.
It is a vow we take that requires a lifelong commitment.
A dedicated Christian no longer belongs to him or herself, as in the case of the Levites.
We belong to God and his higher purpose (Matt. 16:24; 1 Pet. 2:21).

Although we are not born into our ministry, each one of us has innate gifts that we can use to serve Jehovah.
Within the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ministers may use their talents in various fields.

For example the Kingdom Hall or Bethel construction work calls for a wide range of abilities, including demolition, cooking, interior design, landscaping, carpentry, electrical work, and technical support, as well as more administrative roles.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

Our website JW.org is the most translated website on earth and is maintained by volunteers who have a technical inclination.
At a branch level, there are translators, musicians, fashion designers, housekeepers and logistic experts, among others.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's WitnessesChristian Congregation of Jehovah's WitnessesChristian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

Then there are also the disaster relief groups which are composed of brothers and sisters with their own unique set of talents.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

At a more localized level, we have our Christian elders and ministerial servants who sacrifice their after-work hours to prepare public talks and individual counsel, carry out administrative duties and organize our conventions.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

All of us come from different walks of life but we strive to collaborate as the Levites would, as one family.

Personally, I have always enjoyed the field ministry aspect of our service since I started participating in it at the age of 12.

In the field ministry, one has to be able to hold a meaningful conversation with any type of person, from professors and church leaders to felons, foreign language speakers and the mentally ill.

Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

I turn 32 today. I began serving as a full-time Pioneer exactly 16 years ago (volunteering an average of 70 hrs./month).
When compared to others, I am not particularly knowledgeable in any one field.
I do not have good physical nor emotional health.
I am not an energetic people-person, nor am I detail-oriented and goal-driven.

But what I am today, God has made me.
To the extent to which I have allowed him, he has made me his.
He has made ‘his joy my stronghold,’ (Ne. 8:10).
Serving Jehovah in the field ministry is my spiritual inheritance.

What is yours?

 

 

Numbers, chapters 1-3

They [Moses, Aaron and his sons] were responsible for taking care of the sanctuary as their obligation in behalf of the Israelites. Any unauthorized person coming near would be put to death.
~Numbers 3:38

God has assigned responsibilities as he sees fit within the congregation.
Or as Ephesus chapter 4, verse 8 puts it, “he gave gifts in men.”

Isaiah chapter 32 verse 2 describes the role these men play:
[…] Each one will be like a hiding place from the wind,
A place of concealment from the rainstorm,
Like streams of water in a waterless land,
Like the shadow of a massive crag in a parched land.

In order to shepherd the flock and oversee worship, these imperfect men make decisions and arrangements which are not always popular with the entire congregation.

However, as the aforementioned text highlights, when a person encroaches the responsibilities and decision-making power of those whom God has chosen to lead, either by manipulation or physically taking matters into their own hands, God views it as a very serious sin.

We do best to submit to God’s arrangement, cultivating patience and humility, contributing to the congregation’s well-being by demonstrating a cooperative spirit, even when we do not fully understand all the underlying factors or dynamics that affect the congregation’s functioning  (Eph. 4:2,3; Phil. 2:2-4).

Exodus, chapters 15-18

Then Moses said to them: “Nobody should leave any of it until the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. When some men left some of it until the morning, it bred worms and stank, and Moses became indignant at them.

~Exodus 16:19,20

Then Moses said: “Eat it today, because today is a sabbath to Jehovah. Today you will not find it on the ground. You will pick it up for six days, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” However, some of the people did go out to pick it up on the seventh day, but they found nothing.

~Exodus 16:25-27

It is surprising how careless some of the Israelites were when it came to obeying details.

Moses had demonstrated he was their God-appointed leader and yet, they still questioned his instructions.

Such unwilling attitudes could have disheartened Moses, who had risked his life to go back to Egypt and see them free across the Red Sea.

But Moses kept tending to them as he would have done to his sheep when he was a shepherd, refining his patience on a day-to-day basis.

Concentrating on the Israelites’ lack of faith, this teaches me that I should obey God’s instructions even when the details seem illogical from a human perspective.

Christ has appointed “gifts in men” to serve as shepherds in the congregation (Eph. 4:8).

“And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ,” (Eph. 4:11).

These men have no personal gain by serving the congregation, other than the satisfaction of having done what is right.

They make arrangements for the well-being of our spiritual-family, knowing that God will provide means to see those arrangements to fulfillment.

These arrangements may not always make sense.

Some members of the congregation may criticize or even refuse to cooperate.

An attitude that constantly questions counsel given in accordance with Bible principles can prove detrimental to our own spirituality and eventually dishearten those who serve us.

Our love for God is tested in the details (Luke 16:10).

My Book of Bible Stories Story 34 illustration

The Israelites had to trust in Jehovah that he would provide all they needed, when they needed it.