Today I want to reflect on a piece of a lesson from Passion that cut deep in my soul. It’s based on Joshua 1:1-18. (click if you want to read the whole thing!) The story is about God handing over Moses’ leadership to Joshua at Moses’ death. But what I want to focus on is the very first verse where it says, “After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord…” God only ever called four people servants… some of the greatest and most faithful people in the Bible, one was Moses and later came Joshua. Those whom we consider amazing Christian or Biblical leaders God considers servants at the highest. That’s the highest title God gave ANYONE in the Bible. And that’s the highest thing we could EVER be called by God is a servant of the Lord.
From a surface perspective, having the title of a servant doesn’t sound very attractive or pleasing, but it is worth INFINITELY more than any title this world could assign you. Manager, CEO, President, Student, Ambassador, Teacher… none of those people-given titles matter. They aren’t your destiny, and we need to stop living like they are. Heaven is our destiny and should be where we keep our mind focused. We put so much of our identity into what the world labels us. What about our GOD-GIVEN IDENTITY?! We strive for promotions and praise when Jesus said, “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?” (Luke 22:26-27) That’s a pretty rhetorical question, but it gets me every time. We as selfish humans don’t want to serve. Our natural tendency is to let others serve us while we strive for our selfish ambitions.
When this Bible story took place, Joshua had already served as Moses’ aid for the past 40 years. God used those 40 years not to prepare Joshua to be a great leader but a humble servant. If Joshua had tried to step out in leadership before his time came, he wouldn’t have made it. This is what happens to a lot of us. We want what we want, and we want it now. For example, I would love to be a missionary who starts a business to rescue women from sex-trafficking all over the world, and I want to do that now. I want to do great and substantial things to impact this world for God’s kingdom. But God is saying to each and everyone of us impatient people, “Would you please let me build your character, tenacity, strength, and faithfulness first?!” Because he knows that if we aren’t prepared, the enemy will destroy us.
Christine Caine said, “We have a generation that wants to run out to the spotlight, but the spotlight will kill you if the power of God within you is weaker than the spotlight.”
We want to do spectacular things for God; we just don’t want to serve God behind the scenes. We want the spotlight, the recognition, the thanks, and the praise. We’d get a whole lot more done if we were willing to simply serve. We need to stop striving for earthly rewards and promotions and the best of the best. We don’t even know what the best thing for us is because the best is yet to come, and we can’t see what God sees. Our reward is in heaven, and the less we have here on earth, the more we have in heaven. So let’s commit to being Servants of the Lord today, friends, because what better title could we possibly receive? Will you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, please humble us. We are a generation who likes praise and recognition. Most of us aren’t fond of serving behind the scenes. Please give us the desire to be a servant leader because that is the greatest thing we could ever do for you. Help us to keep our eyes focused on heaven and our God-given identity. And we thank you for our crazy dreams and ambitions that you’ve given us. We just pray that you would help us to accomplish them by your timing and not our own. In Jesus name, Amen.