As for the sons of Merari, you shall number them by their families and by their fathers’ house….And this is what they must carry as all their service for the tabernacle of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its’ pillars, its’ sockets. (Numbers 4:29, 31)
Any one who follows football or other such team sports understands that, in order to succeed, every player must do their part. That being said, most athletic teams have their so called “stars” — the stand outs. They are the ones who typically get most of the attention, accolades and awards. For instance, how many times has an offensive left guard ever won the Super Bowl MVP? Similarly, how many times has a backup singer ever won a Grammy? Yet, without the grunts in football or the band and background vocals in music, being a standout would prove to be very difficult. In short, no one person is able to do it all and needs the support of others.
Consider that Merari was the “grunt” among the Levitical families. They carried the skeletal parts of the Sanctuary — the bars, beams and sockets, etc. Frankly, these were the heaviest components of the Tabernacle and, for that reason, were given carts and wagons to help perform their role. They may have been asked to do what some would regard as less noticeable but they were not asked to do the impossible. God always gives us the tools we need to perform our task. Our responsibility is to do what we are asked and not envy someone else’s task. Without the “grunts” to carry such things, the Ark would not have had a home to rest in when the congregation set up camp.
There are a couple of important points to consider that go along with this. First of all, those who are in more noticeable positions, like those who carried the Ark, should not look down upon those who perform so-called lesser tasks. The star running back needs to appreciate his linemen; the star vocalist should appreciate the band members. The pastors and evangelists should appreciate the Greeters and the ones who clean the bathrooms. At the same time, those who are performing those tasks should not envy those in the more noticeable positions. Frankly, the burdens associated with cleaning the bathroom is far less than those who oversee the congregation. Most have no idea what the other more “glamorous” role has to endure in order to function.
All of this is to say that each role is important and dependent upon the others — in other words, whatever our function, we all need one another. The pastor needs the assistance of the Greeter, the Youth Leader and the custodian; they all need his leadership and willingness the bear the burden of being a shepherd. Consequently, no one should think less or more of anyone who is simply functioning in their God-given purpose but should esteem the One who called us. So then, whatever God asks us to do, we should do it as “unto the LORD.”
Blessings and Shalom,