My dad used to tell us about the time when he was a kid and the circus came to town. He and his brother Bill went to watch them set up. (knowing Dad he probably skipped school). He told us about dozens of men who unfolded and laid out a colorful piece of material, attached some poles to it, then lifted it into the air, creating the Big Top that would provide the stage for the performance that night. Dad said it was the most fantastic thing he had ever seen.
So it was with a great deal of excitement that he and Uncle Bill woke up early the next day to go watch the tear-down. I can imagine them running to the spot with anticipation. But when they got there, the circus was gone! They had come and gone in a day.
I thought about that today as I read in Numbers 9 that the people of Israel broke camp every time the cloud moved. You remember that God inhabited the cloud by day and the fire by night over the Tabernacle. They could be in a spot for a year, a month, or a day. It didn’t matter. When God moved, they packed up and moved, too.
I picture the setting up of the Tabernacle much like that circus tent. Did people come from the towns to watch like Dad and his brother did? Were they as awed at the efficiency of the men and beauty of the tent itself? Was God revealed to those people through Israel’s obedience?
Ok, God, I get it. When you move me to go talk to my neighbor about you, you don’t want to hear me whine about how inconvenient that is. If you ask me to pack up and move to another place where you can use me to reach lost souls, you don’t want me to complain about how hard it is to fill those boxes. It’s not like I have to tear down and re-assemble a big tent every time you ask.
My prayer today is that I will be willing and eager to go wherever, do whatever God is asking me to do and that I obey without complaining. Whether it involves asking a coworker to lunch, taking soup to a sick friend, babysitting for a tired mommy who needs a break, teaching a Sunday School class, or sending a card in the mail, if God asks me to move I want to eagerly obey. And may people see Jesus because of my obedience.