We spend a lot of our Christian lives hearing that it shouldn't matter to us what the world says; we should just live our lives the way God wants us to, no matter what. We don't need this world's approval and we don't need its permission. What we need is a little more faith, a little more courage, a little more blatant disregard for what the world says is necessary.
What we need is just to be Christians, as God has commanded us. For it's what He's called us to do that is most important.
And all of that is true, but it is not all that easy. Nor is it particularly (necessarily) biblical to think in such ways.
Here, we're going back to the end of Moses's life. He's led Israel through the wilderness for forty years, after leading them out of Egypt to begin with. He's led a faithful life of intercession for the people and aside from that one egregious sin, he's done a pretty good job of it. But here they stand on the edge of the Promised Land, and Moses will not be permitted to enter. He begins interceding again, praying for another man to rise up and lead the people.
That man is, of course, Joshua, and here's where things get interesting. Joshua has already been called by the Lord. In fact, he's been serving alongside Moses for some time and is pretty well-known among the people because of it. No one questions his qualifications or his calling; they all know that Joshua is going to step up and lead. The Scriptures even tell us that God had already placed His spirit on Joshua, anointing him for the work to which he is called.
We would say, then, that all that's left is for Joshua to step up into it and begin to lead, to start to live the way that God has called him to live, to take his rightful place and live his ordained life. But something else happens...something that seems completely unnecessary to us and yet, is clearly not unnecessary to God:
Moses lays his hands on Joshua.
In the sight of all Israel, on the edge of the Promised Land, as his own death approaches, Moses lays his hands on Joshua and commissions him for the work the Lord has called him to.
It's completely unnecessary, right? God's already anointed him. God's already blessed him. God's already gifted and called him. The people already accept him. The nation knows he is the one who will lead them. The only one for whom this is necessary at all...
...is Joshua himself.
And we're much the same. We have a faith that tells us that it doesn't matter what the world says, that it doesn't matter what others say or think, that we just have to step up and go live our lives the way God has called us to. But most of us? Most of us need a little something more.
Most of us need this commissioning. Most of us need this approval. Most of us need this outside confirmation not that we should, but that we can. We need this confidence that is bestowed upon us by those who have been there, who have traveled this journey.
And what a tremendous gift it is, not only to receive, but to be able to give. So instead of just telling someone to go out and get their lives, what if we commissioned them for it? What if we confirmed for them the gift that God has put in them? What if we announced it and pronounced it, proclaimed it over them?
What if, instead of just expecting others to gift us with their lives, we gifted them with their lives, giving back to them the affirmations of who they are so that they could begin anew to live them? Most of us need this.
Knowing that, we should be also a people who give it.