Those of you who watch NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) are no doubt as fascinated as I am with Jethro Gibbs building a boat in his cellar, and the seeming endlessness of the task. It is, of course, a metaphor for the insoluble wickedness he has to deal with on a day to day basis, and the fact that no matter how many baddies he puts away, the task will never end.
When Joshua had finished the military conquest of Canaan, we read in Joshua 13:1
“Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed”.”(NKJV)
Like Jethro Gibbs and his boat, the task of Israel’s possession of the land was going to outlive him, and though he was old, he needed to be reminded that in is his illustrious lifetime he had not achieved all that God wanted despite his faithful efforts.
Many of us in this church have been Christians for nearly all our lives, and have waged war against the world, the flesh and the devil for decades. Many of the old stagers of this church have been called home; in the next 10 years many more will follow and sit at the feet of Jesus
Our temptation is to think: “Well, I’ve done my bit, let the young’ns take up the task”, and, indeed, a huge part of what we do as a teaching church, is to train the young’ns to that very end. But God wasn’t telling Joshua to lay down his sword and hand leadership over to a successor; He was reminding him of the fact that building that boat, despite the preposterous nature and seeming endlessness of the task, was still his job, despite his age.
Oak Flats Anglican faces a new period of change in 2019 and we all do well to be ready for it. Some may be reaching advanced years, as Joshua was, but there is “much of the land to be possessed”. Let us gird up our (sometimes feeble) loins, and press the battle to the gates of the enemy.
– PAUL HALL