READ: Numbers 18-19
THINK: How would you like to have filled the role of an Old Testament priest? It was serious business with serious consequences for mishandling duties or misguiding people. But there were benefits as well for a life fully devoted to God's service. So how does that compare with the roles and responsibilities of ministers today? Many people think that a pastor's duties are fairly limited and clearly defined. But pastors often do more in one day than we might think they do in a week-all while working with people who frequently behave like the Israelites in Numbers. The pace is intense and the accountability high. God's Word cautions that those who aspire to ministry "will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1). Yet, there's hardly a more fulfilling life than that of a godly pastor, devoted full-time to serving God and people. That opportunity is made possible not only by God's call, but through the support and encouragement of faithful people. Be one of the joys of your pastors' ministry by being supportive in any way you can.
RESPOND: In what ways do ministers today have unique and serious responsibilities? What are some ways that people in the church can support their leaders? Why is it appropriate for ministers to make a living from their service to God and the church? How does it benefit the church to generously support its pastors and their families? What responsibility do church leaders have in regard to people's gifts and offerings? (See 18:8 note.) What does it mean that God made "an everlasting covenant of salt" with the priests and Levites? (See 18:19 note.) What did the priests and Levites have instead of an earthly inheritance, and why? (See 18:20 note.) How does God's promise to them extend to all followers of Christ to this day? (See note.) What was the purpose of the red heifer sacrifice, and how is it symbolic of Jesus' sacrifice? (See 19:2 and 19:9 notes.) How does Jesus' sacrifice provide purification?
PRAY: Ask God to give your pastors and church leaders wisdom and strength to faithfully fulfill their responsibilities. Praise Jesus for the purification He provides from sin and for the eternal inheritance that is yours through faith in Him.
ACT: Personally thank at least one of your pastors, leaders or teachers for his or her investment in your life. Do this with a call, email, text message, written note or, ideally, face to face. If you've responded to this challenge before, express thanks to a different leader. If possible, do something specific and practical to help one of your leaders.
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