I have just returned from a missions trip to Kenya, Africa. There the Lord engraved into my heart a very important lesson that I would like to pass along.
Let me begin by asking simple question: Have you ever grumbled about a “small” job? Maybe you felt it was a thankless task or beneath your abilities. Or, perhaps you yearned for something with more responsibility and authority.
Throughout he Bible we are told to consider the importance of being faithful in the small things. Jesus stated in Matthew 25: 14-30 in the parable of the talents, that with faithfulness to an assignment there comes an entrustment of greater leadership responsibility.
While in Africa I found myself re-reading Joshua 13–17. As I did, I was struck once again with the importance of faithfulness in all I do. The context of the verses I was reading went like this: After the Israelites conquered the land, they still needed to distribute it among the tribes. In this passage, we learn a valuable lesson about how God assigns His territories and opportunities. When we receive a territory—whether it be our workplace, community, church ministry, or classroom—God wants us to conquer that territory for Him. God distributed the Promised Land based on faithfulness to Him, not on birthright. In our limited understanding, we may think God was being unfair or unjust. Yet God sees everything from beginning to end, far beyond our comprehension. He knows the secrets and motives of every heart, even when we do not. God knows how we handle the small tasks, the small blessings, the small opportunities and our future territories depend on how we handle the little things.
When God gives us a task—whether big or small, glamorous or tedious—He expects our faithfulness. Fear and indifference are no excuse for not finishing our tasks. The person who will be faithful with small territories will be faithful with the larger ones. And that is why we see Caleb being honored by God in Joshua 14. You know the story: Forty-five years earlier, when the Israelites were still in the wilderness, Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land—one from each of the 12 tribes (see Numbers 13). When the group found giants in the land, only two of the spies—Joshua and Caleb—were undaunted. The other 10 spies were ready to give up out of fear. Yet Caleb reported, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30).
God loves to see risk-taking faith and optimism in His children. Caleb had that kind of faith. The other 10 spies saw obstacles and danger, but Caleb saw victory. Caleb kept his eyes on the God of promise, the God who controls the future. Instead of fearing what he saw with his eyes, Caleb trusted in the God of all hope. Caleb received his promised inheritance “because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly” (Joshua 14:14).
How are you viewing your current assignment? Are you embracing it with faithfulness and enthusiasm or just bidding your time until something bigger comes along? There are plenty of unoccupied territories around us today. Will you say with Caleb, “Give me this hill country?” Commit yourself today to serving the Lord wholeheartedly like Caleb.
Application: 3 Things You Can Do Right Away
It’s not uncommon to face fatigue and frustration when you hold a leadership position in church. Sometimes the path that you’re on may align with what God has in store, but there are ways you can keep your faith and sanity in check when you hit a rough patch.
- Abide in God.
Sometimes you think, “Does God know? Does God care?” You look back and you see that God really has been for you. And when things don’t go your way, you assume that God wasn’t with you, but remember: He bears the fruit in your life and in your ministry.
- Find a way to commemorate the good seasons and physically mark them.
When you think of the good times, you’ll say to yourself, “Ah, I remember that season! I remember what God did during that time!” If we don’t find ways to remember what God has done for us in the past, we’ll have a hard time trusting Him with our future. Those prompts remind us to be thankful for everything God does in your life, and prompt us to trust Him. He has been faithful in the past, and he will be faithful in the future. Therefore, I should serve Him with my faithfulness.
- Create space in your life.
In our culture, we often give in to the idol of busyness. Many believers and leaders in the church equate busyness with importance because one thinks that the busier they are, the more important they are, and that’s not really the case. The reality is, that busyness is an enemy of awareness. We stay so busy, that we become unaware of what God’s doing in our life, our soul and what really matters. So, if you want self awareness to increase, the busyness has to decrease. What you’ll find in creating space is time that’s not constantly hurried, you become more self aware and you hear God more clearly.
Chris Wood pastors at Zion Fellowship in Canandaigua, NY. He and his wife, Joan, have been involved in ministry for over 35 yrs., and it has been fun. They have three children, two daughter-in-laws and two grandchildren. Their family is amazing!