Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen as far as the Red Sea. But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time. “ ‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand. “ ‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’ “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord . But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord . – Joshua 24:5-15
Here at the end of Joshua’s life we have another circling back to remember all the things God has done for the Israelites. Many of the highlights involve water…the slavery by the Euphrates, the red sea rout, and the crossing of the Jordan to take possession of vineyards not planted and cities not built. After helping the Israelites remember he leaves them with a choice…they are free to choose the God who carries them like a son or daughter, but they are also allowed to be free of God if they choose. Joshua’s choice is clear…he and his house choose God.
I have always liked this familiar verse “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord .” It is such a simple but bold statement of faith. This statement is readily recast into Christian terms…as for me and my house we follow Jesus. Both Joshua, and modern Christians, are being called to lead their households by following God. The interesting thing about this statement of faith is that one cannot really dispute or debate it. Certainly people can, and will, point out failures in our faithful following, but they cannot dispute our intention to follow God unconditionally. Ultimately we are only responsible for our choices and how we choose to spend our time and talents here on earth. I am a Lord of the Ring’s and JRR Tolkien fan. There is a quote that I have printed out on my desk at work. Gandalf is talking to a somewhat discouraged Frodo about the burden he must bare.“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Fellowship of the Ring
We all have the same 24 hours in a day — the same 24 hour days given to Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and Mohandas Gandhi. It is what we choose to do with those hours that defines and shapes our souls.
I have a tendency to over commit my time resulting in what seems like perpetual busyness…people have told me I have two speeds – full on and full off. God is teaching me about a new way through this blog. I find myself treating time as a gift to be enjoyed rather than a taskmaster to control my life. This would seem counterintuitive since I am committing time to this blog that I could be investing in other items on my “to do” list. I think this is part of the topsy turvy accounting that Jesus spoke about when He made statements like “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
One take away message from this passage seems to be to let God be the center of your life and He will provide what you need to keep Him there. There is a bumper sticker out there that reads “God is my copilot” (modified by some to read “dog is my copilot but that is another story…). This passage would suggest another version which might read “God is my day planner”.
God wants us to go “all in” in our efforts to faithfully follow Him. I do not think this means filling our calendars with church events and activities, unless of course God has placed these items on your day planner. The tricky part is to discern which items we are penciling in and which ones God has placed on our day planners. The items God adds often do not fit into our regular schedule and sometimes seem downright inconvenient, but these are often the most important….as for me and my schedule we will serve the Lord.
Prayer: God I give you permission to plan my days. Help me to see Your plans in motion and participate in them.