I’m going through a new devotional study from the people that gave us The Message translation and it’s really turning things upside down for me. Most recently I’ve been learning and reading about Moses and his journey with the Israelites. At the end of their epic journey, God takes Moses up on a mountain to show him the land that was promised, but God reminds Moses that he won’t be joining them. There isn’t much discussion of Moses’ response or feelings, but this isn’t a new revelation; he has known about this consequence for a while. I would imagine he’s a little resigned and it’s probably slightly bittersweet, but he gets to glimpse this promised land that they have been longing to enter for so long.
It did something deep in me to really think about Moses not getting to see the fruit of his labor. His labor that was, for a lot of the journey, hard and frustrating. I have heard or read this story countless times, known the story of the Israelites and Moses my whole life. But now, right now in this moment, God spoke this story to me in a new way.
Maybe it was the converging of Jessi Connelly’s talk at the Influence Conference about building God’s kingdom instead of our own and this devotion, but the idea of working and toiling and building for God and possibly never seeing the fruit of that labor is suddenly very real to me.
My life is full of building things I will never see the fruits of: my students are with me for 180 days and then they move on to eighth grade and the high school and the rest of their lives; I write my thoughts on faith and my struggles then throw them out into this giant space called the internet and hope it does some good. I’m doing all this building that I can’t see the outcome of. I will never know what happens to most of my students after they leave my classroom and my school. I don’t know what happens to my words once they leave my fingertips and I hit publish.
I think most of us, in our lives, have areas where we hope and pray that God is using us or the situation for his glory, but we won’t ever see the end result. We won’t ever see the big picture the way God does. We, like Moses, might make a lot of sacrifices and journey long and hard for something we’ll never see.
For me, this is a lesson in building because I’m told to, not because I’m guaranteed to see the successes and failures. For me, this is a lesson in trusting because I know He is for me. For me, this is a lesson in having faith when I don’t know the outcome and the answers (which are two things I really like to know…). So many lessons.
I feel the urgency in building God’s kingdom and not mine like Jessi said. I feel the shame of trying to build my own kingdom for God as opposed to building God’s kingdom. I feel the frustration that Moses felt when he knew he had to keep working and following God even though he would not reach the goal he set out for. But he did it anyway.
And I feel grateful that I can read a Bible story a million times and each time God speaks something different to my heart.