As September arrives and we begin a new church year it is a good time to refocus and reorganize life on several levels. September is a season for new learning and new goals – new and deepening ways to follow God. A recent lectionary passage, taken from the OT book of Joshua, is a story of a people who struggle to follow God, and continuously fail at doing so. It is also the story of God, continuing to stay in a covenant relationship with God’s people, and showing them grace. Joshua is faced with the question as to ‘who’ he and his family are going to serve. Joshua’s response is: “As for me and my household, I will serve the LORD.”
We have a lot of things that pull our families in many different directions. This passage allows us to notice and intentionally decide that ‘our’ family (our church/ our individual life) is going to put God as a priority in everything we do. Does that mean that we will always be successful at that goal? No it doesn’t, in fact, we are NOT able to succeed in ALWAYS putting God first in our lives. God knows that. God wants us to keep trying, keep focused, keep up the journey to serve and live in response to God’s love in your life. How does the statement ‘as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD!’ change how we act as a worshipping community? [As the family of God – as the body of Christ?] How does this commitment to serve God, affect your conversation, your connections to the rest of God’s people, your fears in life, or your financial decisions? How does it affect your giving and your spending? How are you using your gifts in ways that serve the LORD?
We are NOT going to be able to achieve success in completely serving God, but when we do serve God with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul, we are stronger and we are healthier! We gain by doing this. We are MADE to connect with God, it is a natural (inborn) response to search out, and connect to the ONE who created you. When you and your family choose to serve the LORD, you have a different view of the world. You look at people differently. There is not as much mistrust and fear. Notice, and work to see where God sends encouragement and hope. When you are able to serve the Lord throughout your day … you are able to focus on something other than yourself – you are able to connect to others on a more giving and forgiving level which in turn … promotes health and strength in your life. There is JOY in that connection. When you are focused on serving, connecting, and honoring God, there are wonderful results that are deeply healing!
1.) It is difficult to completely serve the LORD – so (like those before us) we ARE going to fail, but God continues to care for us and show us grace.
2.) We are better when our goal for each new day is to serve the LORD. When we DO serve the Lord, we are stronger, we are less afraid, and we are in community [both with others and with our Creator.]
3.) Serving God is actually a JOY and a privilege! We are the best [and the healthiest] when we work to follow the call that God has for us each day. No matter how small that assignment might be for the day, it is central to how we get through each day.
Take some time this month [in between Steeler and Pirate Games] and be intentional with your quest to follow God. Look for ways to live this out. Look for ways to deepen your relationship with your God, using every area in your life …. Your heart your soul – your mind and your strength …
Live into the statement: ‘AS for me and my household we will serve the LORD”