Changing Jobs; November 20, 2021

1 Chronicles 23:25-26 For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.”

I don’t think I’ve ever paid particular attention to this passage before. I certainly hadn’t underlined it! However, it reflects an important part of life that impacts every human being, and that is that jobs change as circumstances change. At the time of the exodus from Egypt, the Levites were the “engineering battalion” of Israel, dealing with all the physical objects involved in the tabernacle. At this point the temple hadn’t yet been built, but the tent David put up for the ark wasn’t going anywhere, and the nation was established with Jerusalem as the capital. That called for a fresh job description, and David set it up, doubtless with consultation with the leaders of the priests and Levites. The point is, they weren’t sloughed off and disbanded, but rather reassigned, and their new work was as important as the old. We don’t always handle such transitions well. We get set in our ways, and old habits die hard. The thing to remember is that our ultimate purpose, our overriding job, is to listen to God and serve Him, whatever that entails. When we value our job itself or the status it confers more than the One whom we serve, we open ourselves up to all sorts of problems. All sorts of things can cause changes, either gradual or sudden. Health issues come to mind. You aren’t going to be doing the same job after a stroke as before, so if your sense of self is tied to your job, you’re in deep trouble. We need to remember that both our value and our job are assigned by our Creator, and when He changes our job, that doesn’t change our value in His eyes.

Since last year I’ve been asked to use a particular textbook in teaching 1st year Occupational Therapy students English. The content is excellent in terms of what they need to know as far as being therapists, but I’m asked to teach it in English, which is far beyond their current linguistic ability. That said, one example in the book is of a man who has had a stroke, and the only goal the therapist can get him to express is “to restore function so I can return to my job.” Such attitudes will be constant issues for my students in the near future, but I find myself reflecting on it in terms of myself. I am 73, and my wife just had her 74th birthday. People have been asking us about retirement for several years now, but the schools where I teach go into a virtual panic when I bring the subject up, and I don’t have a clear successor in this church, either. For a few months now my wife has been having a growing feeling that God was going to be moving me into a different phase of ministry, specifically ministering in many different locations. Next month I’ll be speaking at the Christmas service for the school where my mother taught as a single missionary, where my parents got married and are buried, and where my father was chancellor for a period of 10 years at one point. The thought came to me that if God moves remarkably during that service, I am going to instantly be in high demand all over the country. I have no idea what God has planned, but I am to hold myself in readiness, focusing on Him rather than on anything else, so that I may fulfill His purposes on His schedule for His glory.

Father, thank You for the many different ways You guide us. Help me recognize and follow Your guidance accurately, neither running ahead nor lagging behind, so that I may be useful to You whatever You want to do with me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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