One of my favorite passages of scripture can be found at the end of the book of Deuteronomy and the beginning of the book of Joshua and it revolves around on key phrase. Be strong and courageous.
Moses, Israel’s greatest leader was at the end of his days. After 40 years of leading the nation it was time to pass the leadership role off too his protégé Joshua. And Joshua was afraid. Not of the battles ahead, that didn’t scare him, he was ready for the Canaanites. But what did scare him was the responsibility that accompanied leading a nation. What scared him was the calling that God had placed in his life. Four times God had to remind Joshua to be strong and courageous in the face of the demands God would place on his life.
The thing is, Joshua was a strong and courageous man. He was one of the 12 spies who went into the Promised Land. He and Caleb were the only two that went in, saw how mighty the nations they would fight were, and still said, if God is with us we will win. Bravery is not the issue with Joshua. So why does God continue to remind Joshua, “Be strong and Courageous.”
Twelve years ago I was a very typical high school student, I was smart, somewhat talented, and I had plans. I had always attended Church, and God was a big part of my life, but I would never have imagined I would end up where I did. I had plans. And they did not involve ministry. But as so many have joked before me, God sometimes laughs at the plans we make for our own lives.
When God called me to ministry I was terrified. The very thought of speaking in front of others was petrifying. I didn’t know enough about the bible to teach anybody. Why would God call me to ministry? That is a question I still ask myself every once in a while. But as I look through scripture one reoccurring theme comes to the surface. God doesn’t call the worthy, or the prepared. He calls the humble and the terrified.
Before Moses became a great leader he was a murderer, and tried to turn God down. Abraham was a liar. Some of the greatest men and women of scripture were nothing more that ordinary people answering the call of a mighty God, who saw more in them then they saw in themselves.
God is calling out to each of us. Romans 12:4-5 tells us that we are all members of one body in Christ, but while we are one body, it is made up of many parts. God is calling you to take up your part. And from experience, what he is asking will be much greater than you could ever imagine. Maybe like me, what He calls you toward will be terrifying. He may ask you to leave a stable job for the ministry. He might ask you to take over teaching a Sunday school class filled with children. He might ask you to start a ministry to the homeless, or send you into the jails to talk to prisoners. He asks for a lot of things.
I have discovered that public speaking is no longer a fear of mine. Sometime in the last five years that has finally passed, but now that I have settled into this role God called me too. I feel He isn’t done yet. I know He will ask for bigger, more, scarier things and so I find my way back to Joshua 1:6-7, and I remind myself, “Be strong and courageous.”
What is God calling you too? I leave you with this. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”