I have always loved the book of Joshua, well, not always, but for a long time now, especially as a leader. We learn so much from him. Read today’s post by guest blogger Rachel Lovingood, co-author of In Our Shoes (click here for her blog), as well as a minister’s wife and ministry leader at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN.
I’m doing the chronological read through this year and it has been amazing. I am constantly being taught cool things that I missed every other time I read the same passages. One of these ‘new’ lessons hit me last week.
When reading about the children of Israel approaching the Promised Land and finally crossing the Jordan (I get a little antsy and want them to ‘take the land already!’) anyway verse Joshua 3:4 offers up a lesson that is awesome for leaders.
If you read it you might skip across verse 4 in your anxiousness to get to the river parting miracle, but that is a mistake because there is a great word of caution and challenge for those of us in leadership especially. The people are told to keep a bit of distance between themselves and the ark so that they can see which way to go and then the key phrase “for you haven’t traveled this way before”. Hmm, these people are quite familiar with traveling, that had been doing it for the past 40 years but this was new territory so they were being warned not to get ahead of God.
I sometimes wonder about the wandering. Do you think they passed the big rock several times, or that funny shaped tree where such and such happened? If you look at a map of the wilderness it really wasn’t that large an area for the vast amount of people so it is possible that they almost met themselves coming and going—sound familiar?
Then finally they arrive at the boundary of their Promised Land. Could it be that they needed the reminder to keep God in front of them and not get too big for their britches?? This phrase “because you’ve never traveled this way before” practically jumped off the page at me. You see I think it’s possible that we in leadership can get too comfortable and too complacent in the familiarity of what we do to the point that we take our eyes off of God.
The truth is that none of us have been this way before and we need Him to lead and direct us today. I have never lived this day before. I have never woken up on April 3, 2011 before, and although I may feel like everything is under control, only God knows what is ahead of me this day. If I don’t want the rushing waters to close over my head or the enemies in the land to overwhelm me then I need God TODAY.
May we never forget that we have never traveled this way before and even if it looks familiar, it’s only by following our Lord and Savior that we will take possession of the Land.
Rachel is the Next Generation Pastor’s wife and a women’s leader at Long Hollow Baptist Church,Hendersonville, Tennessee, as well as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She co-authored the Bible study for ministers’ wives, In Our Shoes: Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives. She uses her passion for Christ, her energetic style and her sometimes crazy sense of humor to encourage and teach women to find the answers they need from the only true source of wisdom—the Bible. She is a wife (of a minister), a mom (of three fantastic kids), a friend, a writer, and a teacher. Her experiences working in youth ministry as well as women’s ministry in various churches across the country have developed in her a deep love for women and a mission to help enable them to live victoriously in spite of the struggles they face.