Sermon in a nutshell: Options are given (Leviticus 27: 1-8)
There are many ways to serve God!
Sometimes people make vows to serve God. I know a person who made a vow to serve God in the middle of a battle field during the World War II: “O Lord, if you allow me to return home safely from this battle field, I will serve you for the rest of my life!” When he came home safely he went to a seminary to be a Methodist preacher! He served God faithfully till he retired from local church ministry.
However, you do not have to be an ordained pastor to serve God! God actually provided a way to get out of the physical service. There is a certain amount that you need to pay and you are free! Here are different amount that you need to pay according to your sex, age, and financial situation:
|60 or older||15 shekel silver (2,880 USD)||10 ss (1,920 USD)|
|20-60 years old||50 ss (9,600 USD)||30 ss (5,760 USD)|
|1 month-5 years old||5 ss (960 USD)||3 ss (576 USD)|
|A person who are poor||According to the ability||According to the ability|
(1 Sanctuary Shekel is about 12 gram. Pure silver 12 gram is about $192 USD)
God considers the ability and situation of the person who made a vow!
At that time, men and women had different financial resources to pay. Also young people and elderly people as well as young babies have different level of resources to pay. Regardless of sex and age, people from different class would have different resources. When you have made a vow to serve God, you should keep the vow. However, sometimes, you have other things to do. In that case, God allows you to do other things and pay the money to the sanctuary and others will serve God for the person.
Why did God allow such alternatives? There is no difference among different services!
When you make a vow to God, that vow is a serious commitment. Still God allows you to be free from the vow! This shows that God treats all the vocations as calling. We can serve God not only in sanctuary but also in other work places. We can serve other people and God sees our service as services in the sanctuary.
Why did God put this regulation at the end of Leviticus? God shows that we have alternative always.
In the book of Leviticus, we have read so many laws and regulations concerning sacrifices and daily lives. We also know that none of us can live without violating any one of those rules. Actually most of the sanctuary and altar rules are for the restoration of relationship with God. We sin and God forgives. God provides means of Grace and of forgiveness. Even when we made a vow to God to serve Him, we have a way out. If the most serious pledge can be bought, other violations can be purchased also.
God does not want us to be stuck in the past commitment. Pay the ransom for yourself and move on. Forgive yourself and others and move on. If you cannot find ways to pay back as the law requires, find ways for you to pay back in your situation. God knows your heart and forgives you. God of Jubilee wants us to have a fresh start and new life. Believe in God and move forward!
- What are the things that you feel that you have to do as your obligation?
- What are the things that you want to do joyfully?