The Ministry of Devotion

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Under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars.
(Numbers 3:36)

I am glad the bars are mentioned as well as the boards. The bars are the things that unite the whole, and if those things are kept always under your eye you will not move in cliques, and you will not have personal preferences, and ones and twos moving off on their own because they get on together. We have to remember that in the body of Christ there is nothing clannish, nothing that is merely of human preference, but all the members are held together in oneness. That is a responsibility. How much damage has been done by preferences, by human affinities having a place among the Lord’s people! There must be a personal care, there must be a watching over the bars, all maintained together. It is what the apostle means when he says, “Give diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit.” We shall never keep the unity of the Spirit by taking sides with one against another. We may think that is care for the one. Oh, but what about the other? The bars will be a corrective, will keep the balance, and will give due regard to every member. Then there are the pillars. Here we have each one’s responsibility, for something hangs upon them, and we have to help one another in our responsibility before God, for each one is called to carry a responsibility, to carry a weight from God. It is bearing one another’s burdens…. There must be mutuality in this responsibility, each one carrying his own weight before the Lord, and yet all one.

The peril is that we should begin to make our ministry something that is watertight…. Draw in your mind’s eye three squares, separate, standing each alone, and you will have what represents a very great deal of the nature of work for the Lord in our day from time to time. “Oh, this is my work, this is my department, this is my line; I am called to be this, I am called to do that! You have your work, you have your particular line, and I have mine! You go on with yours, and I will get on with mine, and don’t let us get overlapping!” That is where the breakdown comes. “I am an evangelist, not a teacher! You get on with your teaching, and I will get on with my evangelism; don’t let us interfere with one another!” That is putting responsibility into watertight compartments. The result is always loss…. It is a blessed calling, but it is a responsible one, it is a solemn one. Oh, that today you and I might find adjustment to this. The test is as to whether it is the Lord Himself to whom we are devoted, or whether it is to some personal thing.

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