against Uzzah; or, the virtues of being a basic bitch

Uriah and Uzzah: two exotic and tragic names, recalling two men who were mercilessly screwed over while just trying to do their jobs. 

Or at least that’s how I’ve always interpreted it. And while I could square Uriah’s case a bit more easily in my head — he was murdered by wicked David, a cautionary tale of how all men are sinful, even a man after God’s own heart — Uzzah’s case was more problematic. After all wasn’t he just trying to be helpful? 

But that’s where it all starts, it seems. Those who’ve served in church (or served in the workplace) will know. It comes from a good place in the heart, we want to serve, we want to own it and personalise it, we want to do and be the best we can be… for God, I mean of course for God. Right…?

Ushers can’t focus in service because we tell ourselves we have to keep an eye out for incoming. Counting money or setting down becomes a convenient excuse not to pray or have fellowship with others. We feel oh-so-important because we’ve been asked to meet this or that person for tea or bible study. Before long it’s so easy to do extra and treat it as a badge of honour — but still we are serving God, I mean of course we are… right?

But that all sounds kind of familiar.

Maybe that’s the tragic heart of Uzzah still beating in us, this tragic service-induced self-righteousness that we all fall prey to at some point. We find ourselves being extra in service to set ourselves apart from the basic bitches and hoi polloi. To do what? Impress God? Impress others? Prove to ourselves that we matter? 

But service means nothing apart from the King. Remember who this is all for. Remember to be still and at peace before him. We’ve been called to serve, but that should exalt the King we serve, not the servant. Do I really need to keep vigilant watch at the door at the expense of corporate prayer and worship? No. Or is it that I subconsciously feel I’m just above it all? Does the money and equipment need to be counted and dismantled immediately? No. Maybe I just feel I don’t need others. Does the whole world need to know how much I suffer for my service? No. Because that’s the spirit of Uzzah, the spirit of the boastful, misering, idolatrous Pharisee. And it kills. Stay away from it.

Be a basic bitch, don’t be extra. Don’t be Uzzah. Be humble. Remember the King we serve. 

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