PLAYING YOUR PART IN THE BIG PICTURE
‘I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’ (Deuteronomy 34:4).
Moses could see it but he couldn’t enter it. Someone else would take over. He’d played his part and now it was someone else’s turn to lead the people. He’d laid his hands on Joshua, his successor. He’d heard the Lord’s word that it was time to hand on his staff to the one the Lord had chosen to take things on.
There are surely times in the kingdom of God when we find ourselves journeying with people in faith and we come to a point where we’re either told by God not to go further or we feel in our spirit that we’ve gone as far as we can go. Paul talks about that in 1 Corinthians 3, about how he planted the seed of the gospel, but Apollos watered it and it was God who made it grow.
Faith in God grows and takes time to mature. We might be privileged to journey with someone or disciple someone or simply encourage someone but not be able to bring that someone to make a full commitment to follow Jesus. When that happens we know we can always pray for that someone and we can pray that God will lead someone else to continue what we’re not able to. That’s not to be seen as a failure but the healthy functioning of the Body of Christ. And of course there will people whom we find ourselves discipling or journeying with who will have had seeds planted by others before us.
PLAY IT STRONGLY AND COURAGEOUSLY
‘No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5).
The instruction to ‘be strong and courageous’ echoes through these chapters in Deuteronomy and Joshua….
‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:7-9).
PLAY IT WITH LOVE
When Jesus is asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment it is perhaps interesting that Jesus selects the two commands which the Lord had given Moses and which were written down by Moses and placed with the Ark of the Covenant leading the people through the wilderness, across the Jordan and into the Promised Land. Love of God and love of neighbour is what is to lead us in life. As Jesus said,
‘all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ (Matthew 22:40).
Often love is costly. Paul talks about his visit to Thessalonica in his first letter to them when he talks about having suffered greatly and been treated outrageously in Philippi they then went on to Thessalonica and,
‘with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition’ (2:2).
He goes on to say,
‘We were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well’ (2:7-8).
Because we loved you so much. Love is the great motivator to sharing faith. When our hearts are filled with love from God and love for God, we want to share that love in word and deed, knowing that love doesn’t always see immediate results, like Moses not seeing the end result of his leadership towards the Promised Land. But though we might not see the results someone else will. And remember, we will have been recipients of love and we too won’t have always returned that love immediately to those who loved us. Think how long it took for us to really respond to God’s love. Most of us were not always aware of it and didn’t respond to it in the way we could have. But thats the nature of God’s love, it comes first, as Paul puts it in Romans 5,
‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8)