Much Land to Be Possessed
The Word from God
As I have crossed the 50 year old threshold I am able to look back on the blessings God has granted me, the accomplishments and achievements enjoyed, and 32 years of service in vocational ministry. I have moments I feel tired and would like to slow down, but then I read a passage of scripture that challenges me. In Joshua 13:1, we read that Joshua was advanced in age, but God does not allow Joshua to “retire” from serving Him. We read the Lord’s conversation with Joshua, “You have become old, advanced in age, but a great deal of the land remains to be possessed.” (CSB). Great victories had been accomplished: the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, the conquest of Jericho, victories over many of the inhabitants of Canaan. However, there was more to be done.
Looking at the Past
It is very tempting to want to retire or to take a season of ease after experiencing great victories. We do need some time to recharge after busy seasons, but there is NEVER a time to cease from the serving the Lord and joining Him in His work of redemption in the world. The church that I serve has experienced some great victories in the past few years. We have called a preschool director to help us be more effective in communicating the gospel to our young children; we have built a playground to help us minister to young families; we have seen the construction of a new parking lot; new members have joined our church; we have baptized new converts; people are sharing the Good News of the gospel in their daily interactions. All of these victories are truly glorious; however, there is still much to be accomplished. C.S. Lewis stated it well when he spoke of pursuing faithful service to the Lord: If you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one. (The Horse and His Boy)
The Present Need
In attempting to faithfully serve the Lord we must see what needs to be done and seek the Lord for strength to accomplish the work. However, in doing so we must be careful to not get overwhelmed with the many needs around us. While Jesus did command us to go into all of the world to proclaim the gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), his command was to the entire church, not just one person. None of us can do the work alone nor can any one of us meet all of the needs and evangelize all of the people. However, we can faithfully use our spiritual gifts, volunteer to serve when we know of a need, and daily immerse ourselves in the gospel which reminds us that when we fall short of the goal in our serving we are still perfectly loved by the Father. We can do so because He sees us through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice that covers our sin and his perfect righteousness that gets credited to our account.
The Daily Goal
The daily goal for all of us should be “to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will” (1 Peter 4:2, CSB). Time is slipping away. The world moves at such a fast pace it is easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and neglect to minister to those whom God has placed in our daily sphere of influence. Many of us get frustrated because we have a moment where we sense God’s call to faithfulness. We get busy and pursue a myriad of ministry activities only to fade away and drift back to barely doing anything at all for God. Why? The prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon, offers an explanation and a remedy. The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that we will do everything.
Let’s Do It!
God has given each one of us gifts and areas of interest. Keep pursuing the Lord in those areas and be faithful. Don’t quit, even if it seems you are making little progress. The kind word that you share, the faithful ministry to care for small children, the text or card that you send regularly to those who are sick or who have been absent from church, faithfully serving on a committee or ministry team – these will all make a difference if we remain faithful. There is yet very much land to be possessed. Let’s take it in the name of Jesus!