Monday, September 6, 2010

How to measure success

Through the Bible in 90 days: Day 15

Read: Deut 23:12-34:12

Verse that stood out:
Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face - Deut 34:10.

OK, so blogging on this extended holiday weekend has been a little tough. I have been doing the readings, but haven’t found a lot of time to sit down and blog. Sorry about that. I’ve still got three hours in this day to keep my streak alive. To be truthful, the verse that most stood out today was the first one I read, Deut 23:12, “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself.” Can’t say I’ve ever seen a devotional done over that verse. I don’t plan to be the first.

That verse, notwithstanding, there was still plenty to take from these chapters. There’s that great passage in chapter thirty, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life.” In the words of my preaching professor, that’s a great “call to action” in the conclusion of Moses' sermon.

I was even more deeply moved, however, by Moses’ death. It’s a tragic death in many ways, right on the edge of the Promise Land. Moses’ entire ministry had been spent essentially wondering in the desert. Granted, his entry into the ministry had been spectacular – the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments. And then . . . forty years of eating manna and listening to the people grumble! It’s depressing, really. We like stories where people get what they’ve been striving for. This, this just hurts. It feels unfair. Why would God not let him at least put a foot in the Promise Land? God’s stated reason seems pretty lame – one mistake in forty years of ministry? Come on.

And yet, what we perceive as a failure, the writer of Deuteronomy perceives as a triumph. Moses’ story isn’t to be pitied, but revered. There has never been another like him. Moses, after all, knew the LORD face to face. Hmmm. Makes me wonder if I’m judging my ministry in the correct light. Do I judge it based upon how close to my goals I get? Or by how close to God’s face I draw?

1 comment:

Carol said...

Taylor, as I read this I thought about our summer meals effort and how at the beginning our focus was on numbers but in the end where we found our "success" was in seeing God’s face in those we shared meals with.