Yesterday, I kind of dealt a blow to all those Christians who think God has given them everything by pointing out that everyone gets only a share. Today, I want to renew your hope and your feeling of blessedness, specialness, and chosenness as I expound on that thought a little and tell you I lied. You don't have only a share.
You also have a portion.
This is a word I picked up from the old hymn, Amazing Grace, as I sung it anew with Chris Tomlin in my bedroom a couple of months ago. (No, he wasn't here. That didn't stop us from singing together.) In the third verse of Tomlin's version, he sings, "He will my shield and portion be." Kind of an odd word for God, isn't it? Portion. What could that mean?
I could be totally wrong, but I like what I came up with, so here it is.
Portion is an Old Testament term. It comes from the rules for the Levites and the Priests, and those serving in the Temple. You see, because of their service to God, they did not get a land of their own. When lots were cast for plots of the Promised Land, those in service in the Temple did not get any land. They got a smattering here and there, a town or two in each region, a small place but really? Not enough to live on. They couldn't tend flocks. They couldn't harvest their own meat. They were at the mercy of the tribes of Israel and as the people of God brought offerings for God, those in service of the Temple received a portion of the offering. A thigh, a measure of oil, a pouring of wine. It was what they got for not having anything of their own. It was what they lived on.
And it was enough.
As God's people, we are to live in service of His Temple. In dedication to His love. We are today's priests, serving in front of His altar as we continue the mission of Christ here on earth. And what do we receive for all of our work?
God has given us this portion to sustain us in our work. God has given us this piece of the sacrifice because we have nothing of our own. As we give ourselves over to His work and His will, He nourishes us through the portion that He has ordained be given to His priests - us. And what is that portion?
It's all of Him. He will our portion be. He is the part of the sacrifice on which we live. He is the sacrifice and He's giving us all of Him. Not just a thigh. Not just a measure. Not just a pouring. The whole thing. Every bit of the sacrifice. And what is the sacrifice?
Of course, it is the Cross.
It's easy as God's people to be deluded into thinking He's given us everything, but we know from yesterday and from the Psalms that each of us is given only a share. Thank the Lord that we are also given a portion, that provision by which we live while in service to the Lord. And thank the Lord that portion is everything; it is the fullness of God, the wholeness of Christ, the weight of the Cross.
And it is enough.