"The 2nd Mile" Sunday #3
As we heard in today’s first reading: “Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the LORD showed him the whole land (the entire Promised Land!): Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain – that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees – as far as Zoar. The LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there."
“I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” What a bummer! Oh, the injustice of it all! After leading the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then having to put up with all of their complaining and rebellious ways for forty years in the wilderness – Moses is told by the LORD that he will not be able to personally go into the Promised Land.
For those of us who like “happy endings”, this certainly does not turn out the way we would like it to. Surely after he had served God so faithfully for so many years, the LORD would at least allow Moses the reward of actually being able to touch the land where he had been leading the Israelites to. But no, all Moses gets is a peek of that land from afar.
But perhaps Moses did have his reward – only it was not the “reward” that many of us would think of. For Moses, the greatest reward was not in his actually arriving at some hoped-for destination – but simply in journeying with the LORD and knowing that he was an important part of God’s plan. For him, knowing that was enough.
Would Moses have liked to have stepped foot into the Promised Land? I am sure that he would have. But Moses most of all took deep satisfaction in knowing that he had done his very best to serve the LORD and lead his people. He knew that he had gotten the Israelites ready for the next stage of their journey with God. And then, when the time came, he was ready to “pass the torch” to Joshua – the man who would actually lead the Israelites across the Jordan River into the land of Canaan.
May God grant that we could be like Moses – both individually and as a community of faith. May we be serving God not for what we might get out of it, but simply because of the joy we receive in knowing that we are accomplishing God’s purposes.
I think that this has a lot to say to us as a congregation right now in the midst of our building project and of our 2nd Mile capital campaign. In the midst of all this, we need to remember why we are doing these things.
It can be easy to get into the mindset of thinking that the whole goal of this building program is to have a wonderful facility that will serve us and provide for our needs. But ultimately, it is not about us! It is about serving God and accomplishing God’s purposes!
It is indeed true that many of us may get to enjoy the space and the amenities that our new building will have to offer – and that’s great! But that must not be the primary goal of why we are doing this project and having this capital campaign.
Ultimately, we are like Moses – doing our part in this time and place so that others in the future can enter into the “Promised Land”. So that our children, and people whom we don’t even know right now will have a place to receive and to do ministry in this community in the years and generations to come.
Yes, in the end Moses did not enter into the Promised Land. But he could take satisfaction in knowing that he was leaving a legacy for others like Joshua to build upon. He knew that he had done his part in his time and place to make it possible for others to enter the Promised Land. So may it be for us!
And one other thing – Moses was granted the vision of what that Promised Land would be like. The LORD showed him everything in that land from the north to the south, and from nearby Jericho all the way to the Western Sea (the Mediterranean Sea). Moses saw all of its beauty and glory, and he rejoiced.
So may it be for us. Specifically with our building project, let us remember that we are part of something great – and it is not just the building. We are part of all of the ministry that will take place in that new building. Through what we are doing now, we will be part of all of the lives that will be affected by our new building in the years to come. May God grant us the vision – just like he granted to Moses – of being able to see all the wonderful things that will happen in our facility – and the satisfaction of knowing that we are helping to make it all possible!
As our theme verse for The 2nd Mile campaign reminds us: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion...” God will use all that we do to accomplish his good purposes in ways even greater than we can comprehend. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord – and to Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen!
Pastor George Karres
418 W. Main St.
Sidney, MT 59270