SOMEDAY . . .

I spent some time this morning pondering the biblical story of Caleb’s boldness in Joshua 14:6-15.  The essence of the story is that at eighty-five years of age, Caleb was chomping at the bit to claim the land that was promised to him by Moses forty-five years earlier.  He was not afraid of the giants, the Anakim, who occupied that land.  He knew he could take them because the Lord had promised him.

Verse 12 gives us a little of his gumption:

So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities.  It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.

Remember, that is an eighty-five year old man saying that.  Lest you think that is some kind of ‘well everyone was older in the Bible’ stuff, even the Bible makes a big deal here about how old Caleb is.

Someday, I"ll . . .
Someday, I”ll . . .

This time period in biblical history is hard to get a handle on, because things are fluid, and it is hard to reconcile Christian ethics with the warfare and genocide recorded in the conquest of Canaan.  However, that aside, four things jump out at me from Caleb’s story that are inspiring.

1.  Caleb never forgot what his goals were.  I can imagine that everyday for forty-five years he went to bed thinking, ‘Someday, I’ll take that land.’  There is probably something missing in our lives if we ever lose that feeling of, “Someday, I’ll ….”

2.  He was thinking of his children, grandchildren, and lineage.  He knew he’d never enjoy the land for long, but he wanted to secure it for the generations.  If only people in church, in business, on the streets, and in the government would make decisions based on what as best for the generations that come after us.

3.  He kind of liked it that the Anakim were in the land he wanted.  The Anakim were giants, and Caleb liked the challenge.  The bigger they are, the harder the fall.

4.  Even though he was strong-willed, he still submitted himself to his leadership for permission.  “Give me this,” he asked his old friend Joshua.  Joshua knew it really wasn’t his to give, because in God’s eyes it was already Caleb’s by promise.

It is tempting to draw an equal sign between Caleb’s desire to claim his promise of land with our spiritual inheritance of eternal life.  There is some level of truth there, but a more applicable truth is that Caleb is an encouragement to us to pursue our dreams, never give up on our goals, and to take responsibility for securing a better future for ourselves and our offspring no matter what our age is or what obstacles might be in our way.

I hope and pray that I have Caleb’s fire every day.

A MONDAY PRAYER

I just returned from lunch–and this is my noontime prayer on this Monday.

“Dear Lord, thank you for sunshine and warm weather today.  Thank you for a great wife who wakes up early to spend the mornings with me.  Thank you for beautiful daughters, for a home, for a reliable vehicle to drive and for a job that I truly enjoy.

However, I have some requests because so far the day has been iffy.  I pray for my friend, that you will help him to lead–and help me to heed my own advice on things.  Too often I have been rash and emotional when dealing with problems instead of thinking things through logically and addressing issues.  Help me in the future to be the kind of pastor and leader who doesn’t jump to conclusions but instead allows time for things to develop naturally.

Oh, and when I am old man, say 75 or 80, please don’t let me be the kind of old man who is grumpy, hateful, mean and judgmental.  I do not want to be anyone’s thorn in the side.  I would rather die than do that to next generational leaders behind me.  Instead let me be and become the kind of old man who affirms and blesses others and responds with readiness to help where I am able.

Okay, one more request.  Grant me insight into exactly what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is in Mark 3.  I think I know where Jesus is headed there, but it seems like a difficult passage and I am supposed to preach that the first weekend in September.  Is the idea connected to spiritual warfare or is it connected to Jesus’ relationship with his family?  I can’t tell.  Maybe it is both?  I don’t know, so I would appreciate you illuminating me and my mind and possibly letting my hands run through just the right commentary or hermeneutic on the passage.  I don’t want to mess that up, even if I am preaching it on Labor Day Weekend when everyone will be gone.

Ooh, I almost forgot, but there are many people I know who are recovering from illness and sickness or who are facing big issues–L., N., H., A., C., R., L., and so many others.  I pray that you bring healing and strength to these people to not only live through their trials and tribulations but to grow in the midst of it.

I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.”