Scripture Reading: Exodus 27:20-28:40
What can we do to give dignity and honor to those who serve with us? And what difference can it make when we do?
I once attended a church that was very formal. All the pastors wore black robes. At one point, one of the pastors wanted to start preaching in just his suit, without the robe. He wanted to be less formal so that the people he was trying to reach would feel he was more like them.
But some of the leaders of the church didn’t like that idea. It went against their particular view of church life. While the church eventually let him preach without his robe for the first of their three morning worship services, he had to put it on again for the other two services.
I thought the whole debate was somewhat unnecessary as he had a reasonable idea he wanted to implement. But when I read Exodus chapter 28, trying to read it from God’s perspective, I was able to see that there are times when it’s important to do things that will give people dignity and honor for the work they have been called to do.
Here’s what God asked Moses to do for his brother Aaron, and Aaron’s sons, all of whom God had called to become priests in the tabernacle that they were building:
“Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest” (Exodus 28:2-3).
Then God described in great detail what the robes and turbans and undergarments should look like.
I don’t know what you might think about this idea today, whether or not pastors or priests should wear elaborate robes. But the passage indicates to me that there are times when God asks us to give dignity and honor to the people around us, sometimes in very specific ways, and that God wants us to listen to―and do―what He tells us to do.
I was reading this passage when I was getting ready to launch our newly redesigned website for The Ranch. As I tried to think what God might want me to do for those who helped me with the project, I felt He wanted me to have a special online prayer and dedication service for them. So I set a date and time, and invited about a dozen people to join me in the chat room.
We had someone from Latvia who had helped redesign the website. We had someone from Denmark who built the software on which the whole system runs. We had someone from Colorado who helps with our prayer ministry and answering emails. We had someone from North Carolina who serves on our board.
I had sent each of them a small bottle of oil, based on a passage we’re going to look at next week, but touched on in this passage, so that I could pray for them, anointing and consecrating them for their work of service to God.
I was very hesitant at first, because in some ways, it seemed―well―just very weird to do this over the Internet! I thought it would be hard to really give them dignity and honor like this. But I’ve also prayed for enough people over the Internet by now to know that prayer has no boundaries.
So as I prayed for each person, I asked them to put some oil on their finger and touch it to their forehead as I typed out my prayers on my keyboard. I later heard back from several of those who came who said that as we prayed together, they had completely broken down in tears, weeping at this special expression of appreciation for their work of service to God.
What about those who work with you? Is there a way that God might want you to give them dignity and honor? I believe that if you’ll ask God, He’ll answer you. He may not tell you to put a robe on them. But whatever He tells you, when you do it, God will touch people through it.
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.