Tag Archives: Numbers 18

Corporate Changes; Eternal Brand

The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.”
Numbers 18:20 (NIV)

I’ve recently taken on new responsibilities in our company that began with leading a strategic planning effort this past month. As part of that process, I’m evaluating the way our business does things and considering changes, enhancements, and improvements. I don’t want our team to simply make changes for the sake of change. There’s got to be good reason for the things we do that accurately reflects who we are and contributes to what we are called to do as a business.

As I think to the future and the road ahead for our group, I also find myself being mindful of the legacy of our founder’s mission. I don’t want to lose sight of what the company was created to be. There are some things that don’t change with regard to our brand. If anything, some things need to become enhanced. It’s simply who we are.

In many ways, the book of Numbers that we’re journeying through a chapter-a-day was God’s spiritual business plan for the ancient Hebrews. It’s an organizational manual for how God was establishing a system of worship. Things were not structured haphazardly. There are reasons that God, the founder and CEO, is structuring things a particular way.

One of the curious decisions God made was to make sure the priests and Levites, who were in charge of the temple, the offerings, and the sacrifices, could not own land or have an inheritance. “I am your share and your inheritance,” God said.

There is a very important purpose in setting up the team this way. Those who were part of the priesthood, the ones who were the spiritual conduit between God and humanity, were to understand and constantly maintain an eternal perspective. To quote the old bluegrass classic, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ though.” The priests and Levites didn’t own land and didn’t have inheritance passed between generations because they understood that ultimately this whole earthly journey has an eternal destination. The world and all the stuff get left behind. The priest and Levites were invested in that which is beyond this world, those things which are eternal, the things that the Founder and CEO are really all about.

Times changed over the course of history. The system changed. The spiritual marketplace went through a great depression. Legacy ways of doing spiritual business in this world changed. Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice once for all. Holy Spirit was poured out into all believers. It was a new economy for spiritual business, and God’s spiritual business plan was getting a face lift. Old religious practices passed away like the telegraph, the ticker tape, and the IBM Selectric. New sacraments and paradigms were put into place.

But some things don’t change.

The legacy concept of the priests not having an earthly inheritance did not go away as part of the updated business plan. In fact, Jesus made it clear that God being the “share” and “inheritance” was a foundational, core part of God’s brand. It was a corporate value that was no longer limited to one team in the organization, but shared by all. It was part of every team members job description. In speaking to all the shareholders on the mountainside, Jesus said:

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)

The CEO was updating the business plan, and the old business silo of the “priesthood” was being functionally expanded to include everyone in the organization (1 Peter 2:9-10). Along with it, everyone in the organization was to understand that this world, and the things of this world, have zero eternal value. The world, and the things of this world, in no way contribute to the mission and goals of the organization. They will not help the organization be successful in implementing the strategic plan. Therefore, this world and the things of this world are not where members of the organization are to invest our resources, our energies, or our corporate concerns.

This is the legacy from the Founder. This is the brand.

It’s simply who we are, and who we are to be.

Chapter-a-Day Numbers 18

jeans for men
Image via Wikipedia

Make sure that God’s portion is the best and holiest of everything you get. Numbers 18:29 (MSG)

When I was a child it was a weekly customer for my family to dress in our “Sunday best” for church. Dad would put on a suit, mom a dress, and the four chidren would be dressed in our “nice clothes” for our weekly trek to Sunday School and worship. I can remember that blue jeans were an absolute no-no.

Somewhere in my high school years there was a shift in thinking. As I read God’s message seriously for the first time I realized that God was much more interested in the condition of my heart than in my Sunday wardrobe. I felt it hypocritical to dress up on the outside for church in a show of impressing God and others. What did God care if I dressed up my body if my heart was in rags?

I remember attending a different church one Sunday. I wore jeans to the service. At that time it was considered disrespectful by many people to do so. An older woman sitting in the pew in front of me turned around to introduce herself during the “meet and greet” part of the service.

“I noticed you’re wearing jeans,” she said with a smile and a wink. “Don’t worry,” she added. “It’s doesn’t matter what you wear. We’re just glad you’re here.”

Years later I still don’t really care about what others wear to church. It has been a long time since I put on a suit to attend a regular Sunday service. In fact, I would stand out if I did so. I wonder, however, if the pendulum has swung too far the other way in our hearts. I wonder if we have lost sight of the truth that God wants the best we have to give. Instead of giving God the first and best, we give God our leftovers. Perhaps our relaxed attitudes on the outside have translated into relaxed attitudes about the inside.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating going back to a Sunday morning fasion show. It’s not about the clothes. It’s the attitude and condition of the heart that is still the critical question in my mind. I want God to get the best of all I have to offer, not a portion of the leftovers after I’ve squandered the rest of my time, energy and resources.

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