Reading: Numbers 11:24-30
Reflection: I love this reading from Numbers. The book as a whole gets a bad reputation for being boring, and to be sure, there are some less than compelling parts, but that is true of every book ever written. In this reading, Moses takes the elders of Israel out of the camp and God’s spirit is given to them to ordain them for leadership and to share the responsibility of leadership, which, up until this time, had rested almost entirely on Moses. There are a couple of features to which I’d like to point. First, God’s spirit did not discriminate against the two elders who did not go out of the camp. When the spirit descended, it descended on everyone it was supposed to. Gathering in the right place is not a prerequisite for God’s activity (let the reader understand). Second, Moses is unbothered by their receiving of the spirit. Other people having and expressing their authority to work in service to God, even if it similar to what we do, is not a threat to us or our work. God’s healing of the world is never zero-sum. Your win is my win. Your loss is my loss. Laugh with those who are laughing; weep with those who weep. Lastly, the work of God is participatory. Moses was extraordinary, but he did not work alone. Elijah, amazing prophet, had others with whom we works. Jesus sent out 12 apostles with the message, and later sent another 70 with the message. The work of creation, redemption, and sanctification is participatory. The spirit empowers us, wherever we are, building up the body of Christ never breaking down our fellow workers. We are empowered to do no less than to stand faithfully with Jesus, working with him to complete the mission entrusted to us.
Prayer: Almighty and most merciful God, grant that by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit we may be enlightened and strengthened for your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.