About a month ago, I was in downtown Grand Rapids with my sons to volunteer for ArtPrize. We were helping a friend of mine promote a new program to help restore the lives of girls who have been in the streets. My son Joshua asked about receiving payment for helping out with this (very noble) cause. Feeling like a very clever parent, I assured him that his reward would be in heaven. Always with a good response himself, he said, “I already have that…I’m talking about earthly treasures!”
Joshua’s comment reveals a truth about all of us. Whether we claim heavenly rewards or we don’t, we would like to dwell in some of the comforts in this life. The photo below shows a growing rust spot on my 14-year old car that claims nearly 233,000 miles. I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about what I’d really like to have. What really bothers me is driving through parts of town where I know there are teenagers with better cars than mine.
Why? Well, because Joshua’s desire is no different than mine.
YOU CANNOT EARN GRACE
“But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.” Joshua 13:33, NIV
This verse completes a chapter that describes the division of the land that was east of the Jordan River. The Israelites were settling into the land that had been promised to them many years ago. In fact, the chapter begins with the Lord telling Joshua, “You are very old.” (verse 1).
Yet even with all that time going by, God’s promise remained the same. He would be the inheritance for the tribe of Levi, just as it was described in Deuteronomy 18:1-8. In other words, because the Levites had a special calling to serve the Lord, He would make sure their needs were met. They were met with grace.
JET SKIS OR WET SOCKS?
This is not easy. I have spent almost all my life trying to better myself at all the earthly things. I took pride in my grades. I took pride in my athletic ability. I took pride in my appearance (with and without hair.) I took pride as a husband, a father, an employee, a church member…the list goes on. What I have not done well is be a child – one who shows trust in a loving Father.
Last night I wrote my first devotional on here. Almost as soon as I was done, I started to think about what to write next. God gently whispered, “Trust ME.”
I woke up this morning before my alarm. It was 5:15. That is the very minute that my daily reminder flashes on my phone: “God.” It’s my way of reminding myself to spend time with Him first. You know what I normally like to do? Hit “Snooze” on the reminder and squeeze that in later. Today, I took that 15 minutes before I had to get up to read in the book of Joshua. Not only did He give me today’s passage, but He also gave me a word for my oldest son.
You see, I often find myself standing on the dock, secretly jealous of those who are out playing on jet skis. Then I read a passage like I did today, and I remember that Jesus stands on the water calling me to come to him.
And I take a step.
It can be hard to tune out the roar of the jet skis others have. Just remind yourself that they are out on an infinite ocean with a finite gas tank. Take a deep breath, and look again at Jesus. Hear him call your name. Wouldn’t you rather be with the One who can help you walk on the waves?