If you walk into our house, you will probably look ahead to the kitchen, or to the right into the living room. But if you look at the narrow wall on the left, there’s a framed saying. It’s been on a wall in our apartment or house for nearly 38 years.
“Choose you this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
At the end of his career as the leader of Israel, Joshua gathered the people that he had led. He reviewed their history. He offered them a choice of which gods to serve and then restated the commitment that had guided him for his whole life. It started in Egypt, it wandered in the wilderness, it ended in the promised land.
Joshua watched Moses and Aaron and others make good choices and bad choices. He watched the outcomes of their choices, and then he made his own: “we will serve the Lord.”
This came to mind as I was thinking about the season of Lent starting next Wednesday. Whether or not you are a Lent-keeper (or a non-Lent person), you and I both understand that we have choices. We understand the big ones, of course, the make-or-break kind of choices. Joshua seems to have been pointing to a big choice that day. Pick your god, choose which deity you are going to put your hope in.
But you can also read that commitment as a daily commitment. “Today, who are you going to serve?” And, as my friend Rob would say, “What does that look like?”
For the seven weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, what daily acts of service to God and to others could you choose? What would it look like, in a practical way, to serve one person each day in a way that expresses the “self-sacrificing for the best for the other person” love that Christ offers us?
I’m not going to tell you what to do. Other than maybe to ask God what would help you and he build your relationship over the next few weeks.
That could be a great conversation over the weekend, right? “God, Joshua talked about serving you. What suggestions do you have for how I learn to do that, too?”
I wrote this last year. It seems worthwhile to read it again this week.