As we celebrate Memorial Day, I would like to write about a soldier who impacted the future of a country and ultimately the world. We celebrate the brave men and women who gave up their lives to protect our freedoms and offer us a better future. Although Joshua did not give up his life on the battlefield, he did invest his life in the people of his nation, a nation that has become a blessing to the entire world. I am very appreciative to all of the people in my own family who served our great country in the military. I am grateful for my friends who currently serve in the military. The Gospel teaches us to be servants in all that we do, serving the good of the people around us and that is exactly what the men and women who serve in the military do. God bless you for your service. I salute you. I respect you because your service is similar to a hero of mine, Joshua. I would like to share some principles of his life and service, a service which brought about my freedom, many thousands of years later.
I. Joshua learned how to lead by first learning how to serve
I have noticed that many of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to service, usually admit that someone had a great impact in their lives, serving them and teaching them how to serve others. For some it was a parent. For others a grandparent. Still others were influenced by a friend or teacher, a leader in the community etc. This is normal. In fact, Joshua became the man that he was because Moses taught him how to be that way. Joshua was mentored by Moses for about 40 years. While being mentored, Joshua learned how to serve which prepared the way for him to be a great leader, a servant leader.
His mentor taught him the Word of God, to rely upon God’s leadership as he leads the people. Moses spent time with the Lord daily and of course passed that discipline on to his disciple, Joshua. When Joshua took over the reigns he continued to lead according to Moses’ example, spending time with God, learning God’s Word and leading according to the wisdom of the Word. Many of the brave men and women who have served and currently serve, have a personal relationship with God, meditating on the Word of God and living according to the principles that they have learned. In fact, it is in the Word of God where we learn to sacrifice for others and receive the courage to do so.
II. Joshua was strong and courageous
It is not easy to be courageous. As people, we tend not to be courageous because of our built in egoism. We want to think more about others and we want to believe that we can and will be courageous but naturally, we are not. This is where a relationship with God comes in the picture. Joshua needed God to encourage him and He did. Joshua had to remove the focus from himself and focus on God. When that happened, he arose and was ready to sacrifice everything in order to lead his people and serve them, preparing a better future for them. He had seen that in his mentor, Moses, and began to apply those principles to his own life. Joshua had overcome his greatest enemy, himself, and then was ready to take on the physical enemy that loomed before them. Many times, many people do not accomplish great things because of fear, fear for their lives as well as the fear of failure. The soldiers who give up everything to serve their country, especially the people of their country are people who overcome fear. They do not fear the enemy because they have already overcome their greatest fear, the fear that is within them. If you want to have this kind of courage, you need to know the Lord and His promises because these will encourage you, lift you up and help you overcome fear.
Another reason that Joshua was strong and courageous is because he knew God’s plan. He understood what God wanted to accomplish and he knew that if he worked according to God’s plan then he would be victorious. Many times we fear trying because we are working according to our own plan, our own agenda and we never will have 100% assurance that our plans will work. When we work to accomplish God’s plan, according to God’s plan then we do not have to fear. We can be strong and courageous, ready to accomplish much, ready to serve our people because we already know that we will have victory. Do you know God’s plan? Do you know where to find God’s plan? King David gives us the secret to success in Psalm 1.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither ; And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1)
Do you meditate on the Word of God day and night? If you will do so (study, ponder, and talk about) then you will prosper in what you do because you will know God’s will and plan and live accordingly. Joshua did the same.
7 “Only be strong and very courageous ; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1)
III. Joshua influenced an entire generation of people by his example
Because of his training and dedication, Joshua influenced a generation that went on to influence an entire nation. He lead according to God’s plan and taught the people to serve God and accomplish great things for Him. The men and women who have served and serve our country impact a generation as well. They set an example of service and sacrifice, an example that is not very popular these days in our culture that teaches the generations, “it’s all about you, live for yourself, if it feels good do it, if you do not take care of yourself, no one will etc”. Several generations after Joshua, that was the mindset in Israel. God constantly raised up leaders to teach the people to serve one another and sacrifice for the good of others. God looks for people like that today. Are you ready to be that person?
Once again, I want to thank the men and women who have served our country so well as well as the ones who currently serve. God bless you because you set an example of faith, service, dedication, and self-sacrifice which is a constant reminder to every generation of God’s plan for mankind. I pray that we will all learn to be like Joshua, good servant leaders who impact a generation or better said, generations for the kingdom of God.