Holiness of service

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Exodus 28:1-43; Proverbs 7:24-27

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Exodus 28:41 “And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests.”

The details which God gave to Moses for the making of the priestly garments are mind staggering. The name of each tribe carved on each representative precious stone served as a great reminder for the priests that they ought to constantly intercede for the people. This was because God held them precious in His sight and desired that they follow His ways. The priestly garments also served as reminders for the people that Aaron and his sons are chosen to minister as God’s representatives and of how such acts of service shall be done in great reverence and awe in the midst of the Holy One. As we now live in the era of the risen Christ, there is no longer a need for full time church workers, missionaries, pastors, priests and leaders of the church to don such elaborate clothings. Even as all who believed are declared a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2); we need not come to church wearing priestly garments decorated with precious jewels. If there are any garments to be worn at all, these are symbolic and liturgical.

While there is no longer a need to put on such elaborate clothings in our service of God, we can do well to reflect on how we are treating the idea of service in the church. In the time of Moses (as well as the early church), service unto the Lord was to be done in great reverence because the people fearfully understood that such services were called by the Lord Himself.

In this day and age, most of us do understand that our service in ministry is also called by God. However, we might have lost a big chunk of the reverence and the sense of privilege in such services. For example, some of us might have come across persons who serve because they wish to fulfil certain “gaps” in their lives. Some serve because they felt that there was really “nothing better to do”. Some serve in the most grudging manner and with a tinge of false humility. They act as if the church owe it to them to serve. In some churches, leaders were even appointed not because they have the spiritual maturity to lead; but only because they seem “passionate” or “willing”.

Yet, the way service was carried out in the Bible was very different. It was always treated with a great sense of awe, reverence, privilege and cheerfulness because it was understood that such services point only to one cause i.e. to glorify the Lord who saved us. I must confess that on some occasions, I have to keep myself in check on how I am really serving the Lord in ministry. I do not think that I have always served with a sense of reverence and awe as He would like me to. On this day, I am reminded that it is only by God’s grace and love that such services are made possible. I pray that He who is able, to help me have a consistent and right attitude of service unto His holy Name.

Lord our God, it is only by Your grace and love that You have called each of us into ministry. Help us to be constantly convicted that this is such a great privilege of which without Christ, we are totally unworthy. Help us therefore to come before You and serve one another with humility, reverence and love as like the people of old. Amen.


Day 246

by Rev Joel Yong

Matthew 14:10-14
He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus was no doubt, affected by news of the death of John the Baptist.
He was his relative.
He was also the forerunner – a special messenger of God sent to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.
John’s death foreshadowed Jesus’ own death and was a remindee that Jesus’ own demise was near.

No wonder Jesus withdrew and wanted to spend time alone.
But the people didn’t seem to realize that he was in pain or aware of his needs.
They just wanted ministry from Him. So they followed him.

In today’s world- being hounded so, any teacher would lose his cool.
After all, is a man supposed to keep giving and giving and not be allowed time out to grieve?

But Jesus did not.
Instead, we read that he had compassion on the crowds he saw and healed their sick.

Get this.
His love for the struggling people overwhelmed his own grief and concern for himself.

Many people think “What will happen to me if I do this?”
Jesus ran counter to such a perspective.
He thought “What will happen to them if I do not do this?”
Now, aren’t you glad that the thought of rejection, betrayal, nails and whips etc didn’t turn Jesus away from coming for you?

He is our amazing God and worthy of our praise forever.