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Managing the Management

Ethics are a journey to objective truth, where the individual is subordinate to the universal. Image (and quote?) by Flickr user Dan Hutcheson, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user's full photo stream at Flickr.

Ethics are a journey to objective truth, where the individual is subordinate to the universal.
Image (and quote?) by Flickr user Dan Hutcheson, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Have you ever worked under bad management in a job? Whether it is a team manager, a department manager, or the leader of a company, managers can make or break the future for every person who is subordinate to them. I’ve found the best managers to be the ones who know how to be managed by others and how to manage themselves.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 21:1 through Leviticus 21:15, we begin a new portion (Parashah 31). The Hebrew name for it is Emor and it means “Speak.” In this reading, we find God telling Moses to speak to Aaron and his sons about their requirements as priests. What is expected of the people will be expected that much more from those God has called to lead the people. And even in the leadership, the higher the rank (anointing), the stronger their need to adhere to God’s commands.

We begin with the ruling that a priest is not allowed to make himself unclean by touching anything or anyone dead except for his close relatives. Because he is a leader among his people, the priest must maintain an integrity to set an example that will never profane God’s call on him or God’s word to him. God gives the reason here to be more than just the example though. He must maintain these rules of being separate and clean because he is the one who offers sacrifices and bread to God.

Later, we learn that the priest ranked highest among his brothers (the one who has had anointing oil poured on him and who has adorned the consecrated garments) is not allowed to make himself unclean even if his father or mother dies. This is speaking of the priest who is actually on duty to make offerings at the time, so leaving his station to deal with the dead would interrupt the holy practices he is currently involved in. A modern-day visual might be something like a preacher stopping in the middle of a baptism to jump in a mud bath.

The other rules for our leaders concern their marriages. While some have decided that being a priest means being married only to the church or to God, (I’m guessing they’re leaning on Paul’s statement here that a man can be more effective if he stays unmarried), these priests could marry, but they had strict requirements about their marriages. They could not marry a prostitute, a widow, a divorcee, or any woman who had been profaned in any way. The high priest was required to marry a virgin of his own people so as not to disqualify his descendants from following in the priesthood.

These Scriptures explain why a calling to any kind of leadership for God is not just a simple “I think I want to be a preacher” thing. We have those who come in declaring themselves to be apostles and prophets for no reasons but pride and money. We have those who are barely saved but want to run their own churches and ministries before they have learned how to be submissive to God. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 lays out a modern-day equivalent to our reading from Leviticus (leaders and elders compared to high priests and priests) , and it explains well why leaders must be above reproach, and why they must not be new converts. It’s summed up well in verse 5 which reads (in NLT), “For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”

If it is not God who manages the management, then the management will not be able to bring forth the fruit God desires of His church. And that’s the key to remember if you are in any position of leadership or ministry…it is not our church, but God’s. He must increase, and we must decrease, and that even applies to management (leadership).


April 19, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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