This is what pertains to the Levites: From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting. (Numbers 8:24)
Believe it or not, there is an interesting and important concept alluded to in this verse. According to this, a young man from the tribe of Levi entered into service at the age of twenty-five. However, according to a Jewish tradition (a tradition that seems to be substantiated by Scripture, 1 Chronicles 23:3), that young man didn’t begin to minister until the age of thirty. Here is the concept: Scripture suggests these young men were required to work through a five-year apprenticeship. During this time, they could assist others but weren’t given responsibility for a specific task until their apprenticeship was fulfilled.
It would appear that God’s plan for the Sanctuary included the provision that those who served had to be well trained. They couldn’t be expected to step in and start doing all that pertained to the Sanctuary without an appropriate time spent in preparation. Considering the nature of the work, to put someone in that situation without the training, was unreasonable and potentially dangerous. If it was true then, it is true now — no one should be thrust into the ministry without some time spent in preparation. Obviously some have been placed in that situation, but generally speaking, it is wise to expect those who are going to shepherd God’s people to have spent ample time in learning, growing and maturing beforehand. In short, they need to be proven before giving them too much responsibility.
This idea would be in sync with what Moses was told when instructed to select seventy elders — they were to be men that Moses knew to be leaders. In other words, he had adequate reason to believe that they could handle the responsibility. In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he encouraged the people to know or recognize those “who labor among you.” One one hand, he might have been urging the people to appreciate those who were laboring on behalf of the Kingdom of God so as not to take them for granted. It is also possible, and I believe likely, that his admonition included the charge to make certain that those who labored were spiritually qualified to do so.
All of this is to say that it is important that we appreciate the time spent in preparation for what God has called us to do. We must be faithful in small beginnings as it were so that He can promote us to do more for the Kingdom. It is also important to hold fast to the standard that those put in roles of leadership, at whatever level, should be men and women who have demonstrated spiritual maturity and have produced good fruit over time. So let’s not be quick to follow after someone just because they exhibit charisma; look for the one who exhibits Godly character and wisdom.
Blessings and Shalom,