Set Apart for Ministry: Leviticus 8-10

Ten years ago, during a Minnesota spring that had much less snow than we have this year, my pastor huz went through an ordination council.  New pastors need to be “tried” and “tested” on their theology in order to ensure that they are orthodox.  When they make it through this, they can then be ordained and have the stamp of approval to continue in ministry.

My huz’s ordination service occurred on my birthday of 2003 and is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life for so many reasons: my mom (who passed away less than a month later) was able to attend; his dad (who now suffers from severe Alzheimer’s) was able to attend; his mentor spoke at the service; and many, many dear people were able to attend including our church family who has surrounded us, cared for us, and ministered with us over the past decade.

Modern day ordination services set men and women apart for ministry as leaders of congregations, on college campuses, in hospitals, and in many other places.

As I read today’s passage, I thought about how set apart the priests of the Old Testament were.

  • They wore special clothing.
  • They had specific tasks.
  • They lived apart from the people.

As we continue our reading in Leviticus and (spoiler alert) Numbers, the priests have special duties, special privileges, and very high expectations.  When they are not able to meet God’s expectations, they faced severe consequences and could be cast out from the people.

The pressure must have been hard at times.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that things today are similar for those in ministry.  Some clergy wear special clothing; they all have pretty specific tasks, and a few live apart from the people…and this at times causes issues.

Others, however, have changed the way that they minister and cling to a more New Testament approach to ministry.

They see themselves as one minister among many.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9

While churches run well under the leadership of a pastor, he or she is just one of the royal priesthood who are called to declare the praises of the Lord.  While they are set apart for ministry, trained at seminaries, and put through ordination councils, God expects us all to be priests.

What does that mean?

Are we all to wear special clothes, do specific things, and live apart from the world?

I do not think so.

However, I do think that it means that we take our responsibility toward God and others a bit more seriously than we might on a regular basis.  I am not sure what that means for you, but I have a pretty good idea that it requires some change for me.

As the snow wraps in Minneapolis this morning, there will surely be grumbling and complaining – much like the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness.

Could it be that we are purposed to praise even in the midst of this?

I ask this – tongue in cheek – but…could it be the test of our attitude?

I am not saying that God sent Winter Storm Zeus to Minnesota to test us.  But…if Zeus is here anyway, why not let it be a time to practice praising the Lord and giving thanks for today?

How do you see yourself as a minister of the Gospel of  Christ?  How will that change your day today?