I was reading in Deuteronomy the other day (one of my many attempts to read the old testament all the way through), and I came across a scripture that really hit me. It was when Moses was before the Lord again, asking him if he could just set a foot in the promised land and see it, and then the Lord could take him up to Heaven. I think it must have been hard for the Lord to not give Moses his request, after everything Moses had done for the children of Israel; but what the Lord did for Moses then was, in my opinion, even better.
The Lord responded “for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”
Sometimes, our task isn’t to be the leader, sometimes our task is to encourage the leader. Sometimes the Lord’s plans for us aren’t to act as the primary point, but the secondary support. The key stone could not stand without the entire arch in place.
The Lord has a work for all of us to do, and when that work is finished we aren’t supposed to sit back and think on what’s passed, we are supposed to encourage others who still have their work to finish. It must have been hard for Moses to turn over his great task to Joshua, it must have been hard letting Joshua finish the task he had painstakingly been trudging for the past 80+ years. And yet, the Lord knew Joshua needed encouragement, the Lord knew Joshua needed Moses’s support and his experience to help guide him and strengthen him.
So too the Lord needs us to use our experience and our knowledge to strengthen others who still have tasks to do. How much of a relief would it be if, when released from a calling, we sat down with the new people who took over for us and talked to them about what we tried, what worked and what didn’t, what we know about those we are serving and where we wished we could have improved? And then back it up with encouragement. I believe it would dramatically release the stress of receiving a new calling in church. Some people have bitter feelings towards those who take over their calling, or who receive a job equal to theirs even though they the lack same experience. Instead of being bitter, the Lord calls us to encourage. Though we may want something as deeply as Moses wanted to see the Promised Land, to defy the new order that has been called is to defy the Lord. We need to appreciate the Lord’s plan for us as well as His plan for others. As we have been blessed we should seek to extend the blessing to others.
Each of us has a primary role to play in this life, but let us not forget the equally important secondary role we should be playing in the lives of others.