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. (1 Peter 2:9)
“Royal Priesthood.” That sounds important. Glamorous, even. It’s easy to say yes to God’s calling on our lives when we estimate that calling to be world-changing. But what did the priesthood actually entail? I did a little hunting, and here’s what I found…
In the Old Testament, the priests had many duties. These responsibilities, among other things, were to teach the people (Leviticus 10:8-11), serve as judges to resolve controversy (Deuteronomy 21:5), offer sacrifices in a very specific way (Exodus 29: 38-42), bless the people (Numbers 6:22-27), bless God (Deuteronomy 10:8), keep the tabernacle (Numbers 3:38, 4:16), and take care of the altar and holy things (Leviticus 24:1-9).
Let me highlight a couple of those things. The priests of the Old Testament (God’s chosen tribe) spent their days teaching, rebuking, and resolving controversy. They followed specific recipes to make unleavened bread and to prepare meat. They washed, cleaned, organized, and decorated holy items inside the temple.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
I love this idea! I love that God told the Levites, “I’m going to give you an amazing calling! You will be my special tribe!” and the Levites were all like, “Yes, God! What do you want us to do?” And then God says, “Clean vases for me.”
Sometimes as Christians, it’s easy to think of those with a “high calling” as those who are preaching the word of God in stadiums or translating the Bible into foreign languages.
But yet, that’s not exactly what the royal priesthood looked like.
The Old Testament priests were called to serve and obey, serve and obey. And it was seen as a great honor to be able to serve and obey in the tabernacle of God.
But here’s one key difference. Although the Old Testament Priests were called to a priesthood of service and obedience, they did not have access to a relationship with God directly. They served in the temple, in close proximity to the presence of God, but it was only the high priest who, once a year, was allowed to go past the veil into the Holy of Holies and into the presence of God. When he would come out, the people of God would come together to look on the face of the man who had been with God and hopefully receive some words of wisdom, encouragement, and direction from him.
But TODAY…today we are called to a priesthood of service, obedience, and RELATIONSHIP with God:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)
Today, our kids look at our faces every day and can see the face of someone who has access to the ongoing presence of God. And yet, do we feel like we’re “royal”? Do we feel like we have direct access to God when we’re wiping and cleaning?
I know that I, personally, used to get so frustrated by the things that I felt were standing in my way of something big and important, which for me, has been a calling as a nurse — it was the house that never seemed to stay clean; the dinner that always needed to be cooked. But God has been convicting me that those things aren’t just standing in the way of my calling. Right now, they are a huge part of my calling!
What if the mundane tasks that God places before us each day are simply a time that he has carved out for us to obey him with our bodies, worship him with our minds, and draw closer to him in spirit? What would it look like for us to “do our common business solely for the love of him?”
I am learning that living out the royal priesthood in my own life looks like prioritizing faithful and diligent work in my home. Choosing to have a good attitude when no one around me has one. Returning to a place of worship and prayer throughout the day. Loving, teaching, and leading my kids well. Serving my husband when I feel like he should be serving me. Creating a home that is a haven.
And as I faithfully walk out this calling, I realize that these things are BIG and IMPORTANT and on par with the weighty calling of being a nurse.
I don’t do this perfectly, by any means. I mean, right now I’m sitting in a messy house, 7-months pregnant, and finishing this post in between all of the to-do’s of my life that at the moment don’t seem very sacred or meaningful. But I have worship music on, and today my goal is to be thankful for God’s provision as I do our finances and pay medical bills and snuggle my girls.
Therefore, take a minute today and ask God to show you how HE sees you and allow him to speak to you about his desire to meet you in the mundane. Let’s also choose to believe that we are “royal priests”, which means believing that we are ROYALLY CHOSEN and CALLED by God (even when we’re cleaning the house). Because after all, priests wash dishes too!
Danielle is a mom to two (soon to be three!) girls & has been married to her husband for 8 years. She works part-time as a nurse at the VA Medical Center & enjoys eating out and lake vacations. Normally a sane individual, she is currently spending the better part of her third trimester potty-training her 2-year-old (send the bleach wipes!).