Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Everyday Vocation: We're all priests (yes you!)

The Bible begins in a garden and ends in a city. One of the seamless ideas throughout the Bible is that humans are to serve as His priests. Priests who wear the hat of engineer, homemaker, customer service professional, and the like.

In Genesis 1 and 2, Adam and Eve are "priests in the Garden." They are to represent God as image-bearers, share in God's work as fellow creators, and stand as mediators between God and each other. They fail miserably at all of these tasks, ushering sin, guilt, and death into God's created world.

Genesis 3 details the brokenness, but also depicts the promise of God's plan to redeem humanity and this fallen world (3:15)...later we find out, He's going to use us too!

For example, God's people, the nation of Israel, are tasked to be a kingdom of priests among the nations of God's grand world. The words of God to His people as recorded in  Exodus 19:5-6 read, "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." (NIV)

These words are important, but just as important are the words right before: Exodus 19:4 "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself." (NIV) God is reminding His people that He is their redeemer. He bought them out of slavery and has made them a kingdom of priests. With this theme in mind, we see now, that another priestly role God's people have is that we are to be co-redeemers with God. Our work is ultimately tied to bringing people to God for His redemptive work in their lives (we don't save anyone), but as priests, Israel must faithfully present the Creator and Redeemer.

If you jump ahead to the New Testament, the idea is expressed again: 1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (NIV)

We are to be a holy priesthood. In fact, Revelation 1:5-6 says the very purpose of Jesus' sacrifice of blood was to free us and make us a kingdom, priests for God.

So today, be the priest God has made you to be:
  1) Represent God in all that you do as His image-bearers.
  2) Stand as a mediator between God and other humans.
  3) Serve God and others as a co-creator and co-redeemer of God for His glory and the good of others.

This priestly role flows into all vocations, all jobs, careers, and callings. The job you have needs God's creative and redeeming power. The people in your life need God's creative and redeemer power (all this is possible because the blessing of Abraham and the Holy Spirit are in you, cf. Gal. 3:10-14).

So, make ugly things beautiful. Bring life out of death. Bring order out of disorder. Bring hope in despair. Bring good news where bad news permeates. Be priests.


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