A Too Small Thing

A Too Small Thing

He has brought you near him. Numbers 16:10

We can be so like the people of God in the book of Numbers. Do you remember how God provided manna from heaven for food, a cloud to lead them by day, and a pillar of fire by night? With all these miracles and the recent miraculous exodus from Egypt we’d expect the campfire chatter to be excited praise. Nah, they grumbled.

1 Corinthians 10 reminds us God was not pleased with them. His patience ran out and He killed thousands of them in the wilderness. Why? He called their behavior idolatry. Ouch.

Not surprisingly, thankfulness pops up at many and odd times in Scripture as the cure for grumbling, a centerpiece in our worship, a primary component in relationships, and the protective, ordinary way to live in light of God’s many gifts and works.

A helpful question in Numbers 16:9-11 startled me recently: “Is it too small a thing?” Listen in:

And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now…is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service…to minister…that he has brought you near him…?

Though given an extraordinary purpose in tabernacle ministry Korah balked at the call of God. He desired more—to be a priest, and not be a helper in the daily activity of the tabernacle. It was too small a thing. The Message paraphrase called their life in the “inner circle.” Just think, we long to be “in the know”—in the inner circle—and, if not careful, shun the call of God already before us. As God’s child, aren’t we already in His inner circle wherever He has us?

Thinking again about 1 Corinthians 10 and idolatry, could the thing we want but don’t have be a new idol to us?

The implications of Numbers 16 touch many areas of our life. Have we made the ordinary provisions, gifts, and calling of God right now “too small a thing”? Where is the line between “God-given, inspirational dissatisfaction” and untimely, self-driven pursuits for more—a better position, bigger and better things, etc.? Where do idolatry and ungratefulness end and contentment begin?

I am most struck by the purpose of God in His provision and the circumstances surrounding His direct involvement in our life: to bring Korah–us–near to God. Oh, the joy of Father and Son who long for us.

One of my dearest Sisters-in-Christ is going through a time of blessing and challenge. She has a tremendous heart for ministry and was a director of women’s ministries at her church for years. In a conversation last weekend we talked about the end of ministries we both have loved. In an amazing God moment, we both realized and said together: “Now, all we have is Jesus.”

He is enough.

The Rhea Herald-News, June 21, 2017

 

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