Paying the Tolls

Paying the Tolls

By Mike (Guest blogger)

Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:29b-30 NLT

As I continue to journey down the winding road of surrender, I have to admit that it has become more of a toll road.  I find myself getting continually stopped to give up more of myself before passage to the next section of road.  It’s been costly, but I am excited because I believe that I’m coming to the realization of an exchanged life.

I have become intrigued by the concept of living an exchanged life.  I’ll admit that I’m feeling a bit frustrated.  After all, I’ve been groomed my whole life that I must DO something for God; that hearing God and being in relationship with Him always equates to some sort of action on my part.  My list of check boxes included: prayer list, Bible reading, and an action point.  Could it be that I was mislead for all of these years?  Could it be that the Lord was asking me to stop doing?  Maybe all that doing was simply what I was using to measure my relationship with the Lord…or maybe it was what I was using to compare myself to others.

This thought had been steeping in the back of my mind, but I had a breakthrough moment when I was plodding through the book of Numbers.  The Lord highlighted the Kohathite division in Numbers 4-7.  This section of scripture recorded the division of responsibilities between the Levite tribes.  They all had important roles in moving the Tabernacle, and I was excited when I read Numbers 4:4 – “the duties of the Kohathites at the Tabernacle will relate to the most sacred objects.”  I was thinking, “These are the most favored, most important peeps on the block.”  However, as I read, I realized how upside down the Kingdom is.

Here is what I found as I read on…the Kohathites cannot EVER, EVER touch the sacred objects or they will die. In fact, they cannot even go in and glance at the items they are risking their lives to move, or they will die.  They don’t get to figure out their own plan or develop their own routine to move things along quickly and hopefully keep everyone alive.  No, they always had to be accompanied by Aaron and his sons.  Aaron and his sons would assign jobs to the Kohathites EACH TIME they moved.  And, if that is not humbling enough, later on in Numbers 7, the Lord is distributing oxen and wagons but He doesn’t give any to the Kohathites. Why?  Well, because they were required to carry the sacred objects (that they couldn’t look at, couldn’t touch, were told how to carry and…oh, that minor point that it could kill them) on their shoulders.

This is what the Lord spoke to me through this.  If I hope to move with the most sacred things, I must pay the toll by giving up all the doing, all the planning.  I don’t get to call the shots anymore.  I have to be willing to give it all up…and let someone (Jesus Christ) escort me into the most sacred place each and every time.  I must let Him assign me the duties that He wants done with His routine and His schedule.  My job is not the doing, it is simply to listen and obey.

Although the job is simple, He is not promising it will be easy.  My position may be to shoulder the tasks alone, without a wagon and oxen.  I might struggle to carry the sacred on my back…similar to that of Jesus carrying the cross.

In the clans, everyone knew the assignment of the Kohathites.  However, there is no promise that everyone, or even anyone, will know what my assignment is.  He might ask me to be nothing and do nothing that is seen by others…or even by myself.  I might never be allowed to even glance at the sacred He has asked me to carry.  The question remains, will I be willing to accept the assignment He gives when He says it is time to move?

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    • Sandy

      Talking about an “exchanged life”, it seems one needs an “exchanged” brain first!!!

    • Cheri

      It always amazes me what the LORD considers important. I grew up in a denominational church where doing what appeared spiritual was all important and no consideration as to what our Fathers will for that moment was. In the past when I truly listened and did what I was told to do it came with wonderful consequences and “I love you” experiences I will cherish forever. What an adventure it is to serve the LORD!

    • Pauline

      Thank you, Mike…seeing John 15 in a new light. Like you say: doing, doing…gotta bear fruit. I was (am)like a little twig running around trying to find something, someone to attach myself to. Then Jesus says: you ARE the branches. And “Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.” So, really, what I’m getting from this is that the fruit is His, not mine. I just need to stay put and soak up His Life; then fruit will just happen because He IS the Vine, the Source and He reminds us that without Him we can do nothing. Sounds like a place of rest…we just have to remain in Him. Sounds easy – how? Don’t know…must be the road of surrender you speak (everyone speaks) of; not there yet — still a runaround twig.

    • Debbie

      Thanks Mike
      I’ve so enjoyed every blog you wrote. Really liked this one especially the thoughts in Numbers.
      You are a humble guy. I can imagine God smiling at you.

    • Wanda

      Thank you, Mike. Just one more chapter added to my story about I can’t be in control or DO it. Dying is so hard.

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