I live in the Florida Panhandle, right in the middle of the Deep South football country. During the football season, it is not unusual to see actual fistfights between fans of rival teams not only in stadiums, but also in grocery stores. You hear people shouting that their team is No. 1, their quarterback is the best and so forth. Jokes are told, insults are levied, T-shirts are worn and banners are flown. My own family members are supporters of differing teams, some from Florida and some from Alabama. These rivalries when kept in check and keeping godly attitudes can be fun, but when not kept in the right spirit, they can be destructive.
This same destructive spirit can and has many times invaded the body of Messiah, and we need to be aware of it when it begins to happen so we can immediately put a stop to it. While the most recognizable form of these rivalries comes in the form of "My denomination is better than your denomination," "My congregation is better than your congregation" or even "My pastor/rabbi is better than your pastor/rabbi," one of the most insidious forms is less recognized, yet it is equally destructive.
This rivalry is the "My calling is better than your calling." If you want to know just how seriously G-D takes this rivalry over callings, all you have to do is look in the book of Numbers. We find two examples nearly back to back. The first is in Numbers 12:1-2 (TLV):
"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses on account of the Cushite woman he married, because he had married a Cushite woman. They asked, "Has Adonai spoken only through Moses? Hasn't He also spoken through us?" Adonai heard it.
And the second is in Numbers 16:1-3:
Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, and sons of Reuben—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—rose up against Moses and took 250 men from Bnei-Yisrael, men of renown who had been appointed to the council. They assembled against Moses and Aaron. They said to them, "You've gone too far! All the community is holy—all of them—and Adonai is with them! Then why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of Adonai?"
We notice in both cases those who were rebelling were rebelling against Moses' calling and comparing it to their calling. In the case of Aaron and Miriam, Aaron was the high priest of Israel, and Miriam was a prophetess. But they were upset because Moses now had a wife, and they thought their position or calling would be changing because of it. In the case of Korach and his rebellion, even though they were Levites called and separated for service in the tabernacle, they were jealous of Moses' calling.
In order to understand why this adversarial rivalry spirit is so hideous, we must first understand that every one of us was perfectly designed by G-D with our own calling. Each one of us was born with a calling, role and purpose in the body of believers. And each of those callings are not simply equally important, they are also equal in hierarchy.
In other words, whether your calling is to be a pastor/rabbi or a teacher or a facility custodian, your callings are equal in value and importance. When we look through worldly eyes, we see vertically, but when we look through spiritual eyes, we see horizontally.
The adversary of our souls wants to get us to look vertically and believe G-D chose someone for a better, more important job because he prefers them. When the truth is G-D is not a respecter of persons, He loves and calls us all equally. Moses wasn't more important than Aaron, Miriam or Korach. Moses had a different calling than Aaron, Miriam and Korach.
In the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) this concept is said this way:
Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Ruach. There are various kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of working, but the same God who works all things in all people. But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
For in one Ruach we were all immersed into one body—whether Jewish or Greek, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Ruach (1 Cor. 12:13).
So remember in G-D's eyes we are all equal. One's calling does not make one better than another because though our callings are all different, each are equally important and valuable. Each of us has a calling given by G-D designed to help the entire body be lifted up. Our callings were never designed so that we would be lifted up.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians, and Galatians in Context.
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