1 Samuel 2:17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
These guys were bad all the way around. It says in verse 22 that they slept with the women who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, but even that was just a symptom of the fundamental attitude that is condemned here, of treating things dedicated to God with contempt. The Books of Moses talk a good bit about what is holy and what is not, and in general, the simplest way to make anything holy is to give it to God. However, once it is holy, it exerts an influence on all that touches it. By treating such holy things with contempt, the young men were essentially spitting in God’s face. It’s no wonder they didn’t live very long to tell about it! (1 Samuel 4:11) This matter of holiness should impact us far more than it usually does. In the case of clergy, they are often given various things because of their office, in addition to whatever salary they might receive. Those gifts might be casual, but when they are given specifically because the person is a representative of God, then the act of giving makes them holy. I don’t think many clergy think about that very much! It’s not that they aren’t to be consumed or otherwise used, or even disposed of when they wear out or break, but they are to be treated with respect, as things belonging to God. There’s an extension of that principle that is even more important, in my opinion. Every believer should be giving themselves to God, which would make that person holy. The Japanese expression for commitment to full-time ministry is kenshin, related directly to kenkin, which is a monetary offering. I don’t care for that usage, because I believe every Christian should be giving their body to God (which is what the term literally means). If we give ourselves to God, which we certainly should, then that automatically makes us holy, and we need to treat our bodies with the respect that calls for. Sadly, many of us fail to do that.
This of course has great applicability to me, since I am a pastor. I receive a wide variety of things, some of which I’m happier about than others! I don’t think this precludes my “regifting” things, but I do think I’m not to do that casually. I’m also to treat my own body with proper respect, as a holy thing of God. After all, it’s His property! Today I’ll be having outpatient surgery on a suspicious place on my right calf. That’s entirely appropriate, as maintenance of this body He’s allowing me to use for a while. On the flip side of that, there are some things in this building that I realize I don’t treat with proper respect, when they are manifestly given to God. I need to let Eli’s sons’ bad example teach me better stewardship of what is in my care, so that God’s purposes for it all may be fulfilled and His holiness fully recognized and acknowledged.
Father, thinking back I realize I’ve done poorly in this area more times than I could count. Forgive me. Help me acknowledge You as holy by not despising anything that is given to You, including my own body. Help me share this truth with those who need to have it pointed out, so that together we may be the representatives that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!