Our calling as kingdom workers requires complete commitment. We must choose God as our dwelling place and live in Him and His sovereign purposes. This means to live His work rather than do it, an all-encompassing passion to see His will revealed through intimate relationship with the Master Potter.
These were the potters and those who dwell at Netaim and Gederah; there they dwelt with the king for his work. (1 Chronicles 4:23)
Today’s verse sneaks in amongst a long list of ‘begats’ that Chronicles is associated with. What this means is that it’s easy to overlook it, because most readers will ‘scan’ or skip over the genealogies. Unless we’re looking for a particular who begat who, we tend to skirt what seems irrelevant. But God’s Word is a living Word, so there are priceless nuggets of insight and wisdom tucked away in the most unlikely places. That’s why we’re enjoined to read each Word. Our God does not want us to miss the beautiful truth ‘hiding’ in plain sight. This particular verse kind of leapt out at me with the familiar impetus of the Spirit that I’m learning to listen to. It’s a prompting to stop and really look, to read and reread, until His truth and relevance emerges. Today, He revealed a beautiful truth for kingdom workers.
Kingdom workers are identifiable.
Just prior to this verse, the Bible names these workers. They weren’t a ‘homogenous mass’ of tradesmen but were identifiable, both individually and through their craft – kingdom work. They were known by who they were and by what they did. At the same time, they were part of a larger body, artisans who all lived to work together to serve the king. There is a strong parallel with the New Testament understanding of the body of Christ. God knows kingdom workers by name – by who we are – but He also knows us by the work He has ordained we do. He has given each one specific gifts, talents, and abilities to enable us to fulfil our calling. Collectively, however, we exist together as the united body of Christ. We each do our part but it’s always in the broader context of working together as His body.
The result of this is that there is a further identifier, one which sets them apart from other men. This is that they served the king. They were more than simply artisans and craftsmen. They were craftsmen who served the king. This had specific relevance because it’s included in the Bible. Everything the Bible contains has spiritual and practical significance for us. Today, it’s that kingdom workers are identifiable also as kingdom workers. It’s something that must stand out and be easily recognisable by others. They must look at us and be able to identify us beyond who we are and what we do. The defining factor of our identity must be that we live to serve the King. It’s not that we lose the who and what we are but rather that we are set apart for the sovereign, kingdom purposes of God.
Kingdom workers and separation.
It’s interesting that in the long list of begats, while mention of where each lived is common, this is the only group identified specifically as working for the king. They lived where they lived because they were kingdom workers. This is a type of the separation unto God of all kingdom workers. As I reread the entire chapter, though, I was struck by an oddity. While many different types of craftsmen are mentioned in the list, only this group was specifically identified as working for the king. It doesn’t seem to make sense that only would be accorded this distinction. To understand this particular emphasis, we can look at the other biblical types of the potter and how they all fit into the bigger scheme of things. The most obvious is that we are the clay and God Himself is the potter. The clay therefore is separated for His use.
He is sovereign and decides the how and what of our lives. We are simply clay in His hands. That this group are potters is a clear reflection of this principle. They weren’t potters who did their own thing as creators in their craft. They worked for the king. He commanded and they did the work. It’s an extension of the imagery of God as the sovereign potter and reflects the truth that kingdom workers continue the work of Jesus. We don’t do our own work for Christ. Everything we do is a continuation of His earthly ministry which is now released in and through us. This is the purpose of our existence – to reveal His power and glory. These potters were separated specifically to do only the work of the king. They had no say in what they produced but simply did the king’s work as he commanded.
Commitment required from kingdom workers.
Today’s illustration reveals another truth we need to take hold of. These potters made a life commitment to the king’s work. This was defined by the fact that where they worked and where they lived were one and the same place. It reveals that there is no separation between living and working. There is no neat line between one and the other. For kingdom workers, our work is a way of life. It’s all-encompassing. We must make the total commitment to live in the work God has called us to do. We cannot expect to do the work but dwell somewhere else. The work of the kingdom isn’t simply one part of our lives. Rather, our lives are a part of our work. We live wholly and completely for the sovereign purposes of God, which manifest in the work He has called us to do.
We often speak of a career as ‘a calling’ rather than a job. This differentiates between something we do simply to earn a living and something that is all-consuming, our passion and purpose. The world easily recognises this, but kingdom workers need to understand this difference as well. When God calls us to a particular purpose, it’s a calling. This truth defines the ‘all-in’ nature of it. We cannot hold back or commit only a portion of who we are or what we have. It’s an all or nothing commitment which requires us to live it, totally and completely. In return, we are given all we need to live and work for His purposes. Total provision is the result of total commitment. We have free will and freedom of choice. If we desire to work for the King, however, we must fully commit and live where He determines.
The dwelling place of kingdom workers.
This is the culmination of today’s beautiful and powerful truth. Kingdom workers may we called upon to ‘relocate,’ to live in separation and only for His purposes. But He provides a dwelling place in response to our commitment. It’s one no earthly abode could ever compete with. God Himself is our dwelling place. We dwell in and with Him. This isn’t a daily meeting or occasional get together. It’s the place where we live and work. This makes absolute sense, because without Him, we cannot do the work. The living with Him comes first. It’s from this one-on-one intimacy that the work flows. We hear His voice and know His desires. The key word here is live. It’s the vibrant, resurrection life of Christ which rejoices in obedience and delights to do His will. To abide in Him is a privilege and the source of life and joy.
Heavenly Father, we are amazed that You should choose to continue Your work through these humble and weak clay vessels. Today, Lord, help us to hear Your call to separation and to rejoice in this awesome privilege. Give us grace, Lord, to live in You and delight in obedience, living only to do Your perfect will and work willingly for Your eternal glory.