To Burn Incense
“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” 2 Ch. 29:11
They were born to serve the Lord in the holy temple since they were born Levies, the tribe that was chosen by God for his very own. Their lives were defined by how they stood before the Lord and burned incense. It was a privilege of the highest degree, yet there might have been some who would have preferred their lives to be otherwise.
How exciting it would have been had they possessed a plot of land so that they could till their own land and be completely self-sufficient. Leading a life entirely relying on others for daily provision was awfully humbling and, oftentimes, humiliating.
At my age and considering how long I have been ministering in the church, the thought of folding it up is ever-present. Yet what deters me from making a definite decision has always been financial one. “How can we afford it?” This has always been a nagging question, causing me to become rather reluctant as far as retirement is concerned. To state it bluntly, my faith isn’t strong enough to tackle the possible financial difficulty lying ahead in the unseen. At my advanced age, it’s frightening to be ambushed by unforeseen adversities, such as money issues and otherwise. Therefore, I must continue on, not necessarily out of my volition, but out of daily necessity.
I was looking at the suit I had on during the Sunday morning prayer, and I remember thinking it has remained my favorite for a number of years. Then I was reminded it was purchased at a second hand boutique for the amount of $20 and my children fondly labeled it a “dead man’s suit.” Yet the suit has always been a comfort to me, for I have often considered it tailor-made for me by my Heavenly Father. The suit fits me perfectly and, as if that wasn’t enough, there was another suit, which was slightly more expensive than the one for the warm weather, which demanded the hefty price of $25. With these two suits, my entire year is covered and there is no more worry for me what to wear to preach on Sundays. What was the suit trying to tell me? I wonder.
Perhaps I have become greedy after being spoiled for a year or two by having slightly more than enough to cover all my needs, and even having some extra to splurge on things other than necessities. Isn’t this the time, I confront myself, to again sharpen the sword of my faith and to rely on the Lord for my daily provision the rest of for my life?
“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” I wasn’t born a Levi, yet I have been chosen to stand before the Lord to burn incense nonetheless, and to be so concerned about my daily provision is an affront to the Lord of hosts, who alone provides for my every need, whether I retire instantly, or remain in the ministry for the time being.