“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
Those words were spoken by Joshua following the conquest of the promised land for the nation of Israel. There was still more to do, but a big part of the job had been done. God had fulfilled His promise to the nation of Israel. Joshua reminded the people of God’s covenant with them as a nation, His decrees for them, and the path they should walk. But at the end of the message, he made it personal. Joshua knew that each man would need to make a choice. Where will you lead your family? Whom will you serve? Will it be the Lord? Or one of the other gods?
When Marian and I were married, we received a metal door plate with these words, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In time, the metal plate succumbed to the elements. We now have one in the house on our wall. The words have grown in significance for me as the years have passed. Receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior so many years ago was the beginning of my journey. My house would serve the Lord. Little did I know at the time that the Lordship decision was just beginning. The distractions (or more appropriately, “desires,”) for other things would mar the journey. Wealth, career, children, marriage, recreation, health and the list goes on are all good, but can cause me to stumble when they take first place before Christ. Jesus warned his disciples that to be a disciple would require a denial of self and to pick up one’s cross daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:27) Deny my own selfishness. I belong to Christ. His agenda reigns, not mine. The battle will be daily. Jesus said I must pick up my cross and follow Him. All the other trails are futile.
As Joshua notes, the battle is personal but the family will also be affected. The choice includes “my house.” My family will be impacted for good or for ill in my journey. How I choose will have consequences. That was Joshua’s message to each man as he leads his family.
During this past year, I had the privilege of meeting a man with many arrows in his quiver. He had a large family. (Psalm 127) In the conversation with one of his sons who was in high school, the topic of his future came into the discussion. His plan, he boldly proclaimed, was to be a medical doctor. What grabbed my attention, however, was the “why” he had chosen this profession. He desired to go to the Middle East to serve as a medical missionary with the hope to reach people for Jesus Christ. In further conversation with his father, it became evident that he had a clear vision of following Christ wherever He led. A very humble and godly man. A man who had chosen to serve the Lord. In God’s grace and mercy, His family was being abundantly blessed.
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19