This month we have studied the book of Joshua together and learned that God will place each of us in a position to serve Him. Wherever we are now, we are to serve the Lord: directing attention away from ourselves and to God. God promises to reward us for the work we do. He challenges us to be good stewards of what we’ve been given no mater the results we see. Whether you are young and still in your parents’ house, moving on to college or a career or a parent with a job and a family to support; God has given you something to steward well. He has given us something to steward well. He has made us all servants in this world no matter what role we fill, and here’s the trend I see in our world:
Many of us will spend our lives doing what we want to do and trying to be where we want to be.
Many times we will stay home and rest when we know God wants us to get involved in a local church and serve in the context of that local church. When God calls us to a local body of believers, we should be fully committed until God moves us. In fact, it should take an act of God to move us! Our preferences and our feelings and our thoughts about others matter little when our goal is to serve God. Many times we will choose to dedicate ourselves to an activity that will keep us from serving God where He wants us to serve. For instance, athletics may keep us away from our church family and our place of real, lasting, worthwhile service. Sports are not evil, but we do have to discern prayerfully what we have to give up in order to serve God rightly in this world. The same goes for band, a career and even school. As an example, I gave up my pursuit of a career in graphic design to be a pastor and I give up hobbies (like hunting and fishing) so I can spend the necessary time doing what God has called me to do. I’ve given up finishing my master’s degree quickly so I can dedicate my time to you and to God. You don’t just have to follow my words; you can follow my example! It is good to give something up to serve God well, young and old alike.
Here is my question: Who will you serve? Will you, young or old, serve God; or will you serve yourself? Will you be where God wants you to be, or will you come up with weak excuses to fulfill your own preferences? Will you complain about where God has you, pointing out everything negative, or will you be content no matter what you see happening around you? Will you accept the challenges placed before you, or will you look to live an easy life? Will you use your talents to point people to Christ, or will you use them to draw people to yourself? Will you direct glory to God or will you try to collect it for yourself? Will you deny yourself, even in young age, to follow Christ well? I will say this: when I got saved, I denied myself just enough to be seen as a good Christian. It wasn’t until five years later that I surrendered completely to God and it is so worth it!
Joshua 24:14-15 (HCSB)
“Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”
This is our last look at the book of Joshua for now, and this is the question I want to ask everyone here and everyone who watches at home. God raised Joshua up to lead Israel into the land of Canaan, take it and distribute it among the tribes. After this is complete, we see Joshua in his old age directing all attention to God. He offers three choices to the Israelites: If worshipping God isn’t good enough for you; you can choose to have the faith of your fathers, you can choose to have the faith of the nations; but as for me, I will have faith in Yahweh: the one true God!
Let’s look at our first option: we can choose to have the faith of our fathers. For the Israelites, this was the multiplicity of gods that the generation before worshipped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt. For us, it could be a number of things: Those before us may worship work or consumerism. They might worship a certain type of morality or tradition, or they may worship God. If our parents worship God, there is still a danger in us adopting their faith. We can become guilty of worshipping the Christian faith rather than worshipping the person of Christ. This will not save us! It cannot! We must know Christ, not just be part of a family that worships Him.
Second: We can choose to have the faith of the nation we are in. For the Israelites, these were gods like Baal (who did not exist) or graven images that were made out to be gods. For us this can be pleasure, individualism, instant gratification, laziness, money, power or any combination.
Finally: We can choose to worship God and have faith in God. As for me, I will worship God, have faith in God and spend my life serving God no matter what I have to give up on this earth. Won’t you do the same? Remember His rewards are eternal while everything in this world will decompose or be destroyed eventually.