Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fitting In

A couple of months back, I took on the task of giving my minivan a much needed tune-up. New plugs, new wires, and a new ignition coil pack. What a job! It wasn't fun, all because I made a pretty serious mistake. After putting on a new coil, I had to put on the new spark plug wires. This is a very important job, because the wires need to be on in the proper firing order. After I put on the wires, patting myself on the back for a job well done, I fired up the engine. That is when it all broke loose!

It started rough. I figured it just for bugs in the system that would be corrected by the onboard computer. That's when the check engine light not only came on, but actually started flashing at me! I'm not even joking! Then, the engine sputtered out and died. I would be understating it to say I was freaking out. After trying several other combinations on the coil posts, I gave up out of frustration. I went to bed, and the next morning, I decided to use the old, numbered wires. All ended well.

Just like those wires, we try to find a place to serve, and oftentimes we end up doing more damage than good because we just weren't made for that call. Nothing like the wrong person to misfire a ministry! It happens in the secular world, too. How many good people took a job they just couldn't handle, even thinking they would learn the job, only to fall on their face and cause more trouble than good? I've done this in ministry, and gave myself a real headache of a time. Thank the Lord that my experiences only frustrated me, and didn't do any real damage. There have been other times I've tried to fit into spots God never intended to put me, but I'll stop there.

In my read in 2 Samuel, I got to the sixth chapter, and came across a familiar, yet shocking account. It's the story of a guy named Uzza. Here was this man, gladly serving the Lord and his king, David. The Ark of God had been away from its place for some years, first with the Philistines who captured it, then in a couple Israelite homes. Finally, David decided that it was time to bring the Ark back to its rightful place. It was a big deal. It was a time of celebration. It was a time of worship and high praise. But it turned sour real quick.

David had his men placed the Ark on a cart-mistake number one. Moses had given very detailed info on how the Ark was to be transported. That was on stakes threaded through loopholes on the side of it, and carried on the shoulders of the priests. David did what the Philistines had done years before, that is, place the Ark on a cart and tow it with animals.

As they marched on to the resting spot of the Ark, something bad happened (always happens like that, eh?). The oxen that were pulling the cart got a bit too rough, and they shook the Ark so that it wobbled and started to fall. That is when Uzza committed mistake number two. He reach out and grabbed a hold of the Ark to steady it and keep it from falling. At the time it surely seemed like the right thing to do. After all, we can't let the one thing that God used to represent His Presence fall and get all dirty, right? Too bad for Uzza that God didn't agree. He struck poor Uzza dead right there. Why? Was it really that bad of a sin to "help" God out? Uzza's problem is that he didn't stay in his place. Like Saul before him, who took for himself the duties of a priest and sacrificed, handling the Ark wasn't Uzza's job. Only the priests could deal with the Ark, and even they probably couldn't touch it with their hands. The trouble that day could have been avoided if everyone had just followed God's plan. But, when we step out of line and try to do what God hasn't called us to do, we cause problems. Actually, the best thing that Uzza could have done would have been to let the Ark fall on the ground-it was the only thing doing what it was supposed to! It was being the ground, just what God made it to be.

Uzza's actions didn't just affect him. Perhaps a family lost a daddy and a husband that day. David probably lost a good man. David himself did things wrong, and his decision that day cost a good man. Lesson learned for the king: do it God's way. The next time David tried to bring back the Ark, he did right. The priests carried it the way God said, and everyone was happy.

Am I saying that God will strike you down if you try to do something He hasn't called you to? Most likely not. God is patient, and in this age of grace, he will show you where you belong. But, while God judged with severity in Old Testament times, serving where you belong is still just as important nowadays. I can't tell you how much trouble, turmoil and heartache can be caused by the wrong man in the wrong spot.

So, if you are seeking out the will of God, and searching for that spot He has for you, keep praying. Keep working, and He will place you where he needs you.

God bless!

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