“Mission starts now.”
This is a phrase that I say every time we start our summer missions training during the spring. For the past ten years of my life, I have been part of short term summer mission trips through whatever Church that I find myself to be in and this phrase always comes up at the first training session. I say the statement above because there have been and will be cases where people come into the several month training session with a poor attitude and participation because they think that they will begin to “turn it on” when they get on the field. It is safe to say that people with this mindset rarely if at all ever “turn it on.”
Why is that? They can’t turn on something that they are not and the training season is to prepare ourselves and become what we are meant to and required to be on the field so that we can accomplish the will that God has for us the trip. The “mission starts now” mentality is a mentality of preparation for the future by living in the moment the way you want to be in the future. If you want to be a disciplined person in the future, then start by today. If you want to be a loving person, then start today. If you want to be a patient person, then start today. If you want to be a Christ follower in the future, then start today. To run a mile, one needs to take the first step and thus we must remind ourselves that we don’t stumble upon the future that we desire but must make the individual steps necessary to get there. We don’t automatically become Christ like or stumble upon it but that we have to be disciplined in allowing the Spirit to guide us because we are so stubborn at times, that we refuse it.
Deuteronomy is a book that tells the Israelites what their God centered culture is supposed to be like before they go into the promised land to become an established nation. Before they become a physical nation with borders, they must host the culture of that nation in their hearts and thus Moses gives them the blueprint of the posture of heart they are to have before they go in so that they can keep what has been given to them by the Lord.
God has given us more than glimpse of what the Kingdom culture is through Jesus Christ and the Word so let us daily practice who we are in Him.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying,
Moses is explaining how God, heaven, and ultimately the people of God operate by telling them the laws of God. When we think of law we think of rules but the laws of God are more than rules but simply the way God operates and is a reflection of who He is so therefore rather than impersonal commands they are the principles of having a healthy relationship with God, with each other, and all of creation. To know the laws of God is to know the heart of God.
8 See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself
It says that the Lord set the land before the people. God prepared the promise and all that the Lord require of the people was to go take the land by his direction. A principle of the Kingdom culture that we need to know is that there are certain obligations on God’s end to fulfill particular things in our lives. It is God’s obligation to be true to Himself so that when He gives a promise it is actually His responsibility to fulfill it and our responsibility to trust it. It is when we lack trust and patience in Him that we then try to do the things that only He is responsible for and we burn out, become bitter, and ultimately sin.
12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes.16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him.17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.
In the history lesson that Moses is giving the people, he is stating that he alone could not lead the people. To answer the call of a need for leadership, Moses appoints people to help carry the load so that the community as a whole can move forward and not be dependent upon one person. The community of God was to ultimately be dependent on God but what God also wishes is for every member of His community to rise up and reflect Him rather than a select handful. It’s more than being a kingdom individual but that it’s more about a Kingdom Community. God desires the individual but also desires a people, a Kingdom, or community of people to reflect the glory and thus requires that everyone play their part in that process. The reason why churches stop growing is because people are either refuse to be like Christ, be raised up to be like Christ, and or not given opportunity to be and trained to be like Christ. God loves the individual but will not settle for an individual.
To know the laws of God is to know the heart of God.
It is God’s responsibility to fulfill promises but our responsibility to trust Him.
More than a kingdom of individuals, it’s about a kingdom community.