The ephod was a garment worn around the high priest’s upper body that featured 23 semiprecious and precious stones on the front, each one bearing the name of one of the tribes of Israel.
God gave Moses the following instructions concerning the ephod:
Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord. Exodus 28:12 (NLT)
I added the underline as a reminder to myself and others that ministering before The Lord has always been about people. Later in verse 21, The Lord will add these words:
Each stone will represent one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe will be engraved on it like a seal. Exodus 28:21 (NLT)
I wrote a post at www.DouglasRea.com titled “Being Conduit.” In that post I spoke on the concept of you and I are the priests of the New Covenant; and the conduit between man and God. These two verses from Exodus further accentuate that we have a responsibility to share the good news that God, through Jesus Christ, has redeemed mankind. Also, I see no biblical evidence that the plan to share that good news was to be the responsibility of the institution commonly known as “church.” Rather the duty always was, and still remains, the task of each and every person who calls Jesus their Lord. I’m not saying church is evil or anti-God.
I am thankful that we have places to gather together that we might sing, pray, teach, and socialize with one another. However, we are in the wrong to shift the responsibility of ministering on behalf of neighbors and our community to any group, church, committee, program, or clergyman.
Imagine what the country would be like if the millions of Americans who call themselves Christian began to think of themselves as ministers. Envision our resources going directly from us to those in need without having to pass it first through a church committee or program. Instead of inviting people to church for prayer, we pray for them and we do it in the moment. As an alternative to the monthly, “mother’s night out,” you would watch the children – in your home – and cook them dinner. Sound crazy? Sound like something Jesus would do?
No one can argue that Christians are among the most kind, sincere, and giving people on God’s green Earth. We have always been willing to serve or communities and worldwide in time of need. With those accolades acknowledged, most take little more responsibility in “ministry” then to sit, watch, listen, sing, give, leave, and repeat. This is not the way of God.
Let’s get out of our seats, watch for God to alert us moment and by moment, and be prepared to minister to The Lord by caring for those he puts into your path.