Gina Caswell Kelly
“Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
As Joshua spoke these words to his people, he knew his days were numbered. He knew the end of his life was near. So, in the way of forming his last words, he issued this challenge to the Israelite people.
Before these words were spoken, Joshua had recounted all the people had seen God do. He recounted all those things that God had done for their ancestors to bring them out of slavery to the land which He had promised to give them. He did this to remind them of the goodness and the trustworthiness of their God. Then he challenged them to follow God and to serve Him only. Of course, the people responded, “All you have said, we will do.”
We see in the Old Testament story of the Israelites and their escape from Egypt all the way to the Promised Land that they were a people with short memories. They would promise to obey God from this point on, then a few chapters later, they have forsaken Him, and seemingly forgotten all He has done for them. Those Israelites!
Does it sound familiar? It should! It is the story of us, too! We have those “come to Jesus” moments and we swear we will follow Him and serve Him always. Then, just a few days, or even minutes later, we are back to our old selves for a while. We just can’t seem to stay on course.
I remember a day over 40 years ago very clearly. Kyle was little enough that I was feeding him and rocking him. I remember looking up on the wall in front of me where I had a print hanging. Gorgeously framed, and in beautiful lettering it had printed those words from Joshua. I distinctly remember looking at those words as I rocked that precious little boy and thinking, “That is pretty easy to hang on your wall, but it is a whole lot harder to live it.” I remember looking at that baby and praying so hard that God would help us, as a family to always serve Him. I really don’t know for sure why that memory is so etched in my brain. Perhaps it was God’s reminder to me that we are to be more than just “surface” Christians that appear to be following God, but are not fully committed to Him. I know that down through the years, we have let Him down so many times, both as a family, and as individuals. I know the times in my life when I have been most content and most at peace have been those times when I truly was following Him. Even in the midst of bad times around me, I had peace because I was trusting Him, and trying hard to follow His leadership.
I still have that same print hanging on my wall. It has hung in four different houses now. Each time I look at it, I make that commitment again to serve Him. Like the Israelites, I fall short often. But, unlike the Israelites, I have the gift of the Savior who gave His life for me and forgives my sins daily, when I ask Him. I have the gift of the Holy Spirit who walks beside me and nudges me when I get off the path. I have the gift of knowing that I can never get so far away from the Savior that I cannot get back home. He waits for me. He waits for you.
Choose you this day whom you will serve. It will make a difference.