“Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.”
Joshua 13:14 NKJV
I was born sucking air and squalling, taking my place in the habitation of mankind. With red faces and hearts full of self, we all enter the world to the sounds of our cries and we all continue to fight and clamor for a place, a freedom, an inheritance.
What is mine? is a question with far too much perspective for a child to ask. We learn what is ours by experience first.
Parenting can be just a monotonous cycle of laying down the boundaries that run perpendicular to our children’s desires, teaching them that seeing and wanting and taking are not the kind of options Jesus offers. We start off easy: that’s not your toy, not your food, not your blanket. And it’s a rare child that simply accepts the parental decree. It’s a normal child that pushes back and learns by experience.
It’s a grace that children come as infants and God gives us the time to adjust together, right? We grow right alongside, proving that the teacher learns the most.
The stakes rise with the years. The kinds of things we have to deny our children become less about keeping their manners acceptable and more about keeping their bodies and souls free and alive and responsive to Jesus. That’s an oversimplification of parenting, but if you were to funnel most of our cares and concerns down to the basics, isn’t that it?
I have to use analogies I understand. I have to talk about freedom in context of parenting because in it, Jesus has given me the most and taken the most from me. And I have to admit that as a parent, as a bona fide adult, I still am not clear about what is mine.
I’m still running into perpendicular lines laid across my desires and wants, learning by experience, through fire.
I mean this in two ways: there are still things I want that common sense, self-control, and the Holy Spirit have to persuade me aren’t good for me, and there are other things that are rightfully mine that I neglect or forget about, or that I don’t feel I have a legitimate claim to.
And it’s that second part that we really need to talk about.
All the tribes of Israel inherited a specific place, except the Levites. The Levites were promised an inheritance during the wandering years of following Moses around, but it wasn’t to be like everyone else’s inheritance. There were no definitive borders for them, no boundaries in all the land and therefore, no one could take what was the Levites.
They received an inheritance incorruptible: offerings made by fire, and God Himself.
But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.
Joshua 13:33 NKJV
I inherited the Lord and everything that comes through the fire.
We are kings and priests according to 1 Peter 2:9. We were not a people but now we are. We had not obtained mercy but now it is ours. We have everything and God Himself, and like the Levites of old, we are scattered among people that have boundaries because in every place God deserves His own special people.
These are the truths I neglect or forget.
What is still mine after Tuesday?
This is the question that takes perspective, which we get by experience (which we get through fire).
After the election on Tuesday, or after the surgery, after the memorial or the celebration or at the end of the long week, we have God.
After common sense, after love, after goodness and beauty have been passed up for more utilitarian devices, we have God.
After the scales are tipped in favor of whatever the majority deems right, we have the Lord and everything that comes through fire.
On Wednesday, we who are Christ’s will wake up to a full inheritance like we do everyday.