This lesson opens in Joshua 24. Here, in light of the new year, we are going to direct our thoughts toward the topic of involvement. In Joshua 24, Joshua challenges the people to make a choice regarding their involvement with God. In verse 14 and on, he encourages them to put away the idols of other countries, but he reinforces the fact that the choice is theirs and theirs alone.
In this context, the people agree to serve God, but Joshua warns them of their likely disobedience. The people do commit, though, and this generation is described as one that served God. However, as we progress into Judges, national unity, zeal, and spiritual purity begin to decay.
To have effective involvement, three things are necessary: a knowledge of the situation, a right attitude, and a willingness to be involved. What happened to Israel? They did not drive out the inhabitants of Canaan (Judges 1). In Judges 3:5-6, Israelites intermarry with the idolatrous nations. In fact, the end of the book concludes with the statement that all are doing “what is right in their own eyes.” They became uninvolved with fulfilling God’s plan.
New Testament Examples of Involvement
We constitute a family of God’s children, and not everyone has the same abilities. However, we all have something to contribute, and we all can be involved. For example, Phoebe (Romans 16:1) is called her a helper of many and of himself by Paul. The House of Stephanas (I Corinthians 16:15) has set themselves to minister unto the saints. Onesiphorus (II Timothy 1:16-17) is named for tending to Paul in prison and for his efforts in Ephasus. Tabitha (Acts 9:36-39) is referred to as being “full of good works,” and she is mourned by many for the garments she had made them.
None of these individuals were great by many standards, but they were helpful to God’s cause because of their willingness to be involved. Unfortunately, like in Hebrews 5, many who should be adults in Christ are still children due to a lack of involvement, a symptom of spiritual immaturity.
What have I done to involve myself? Have I participated in gatherings and activities? Have I participated in worship? Membership to different congregations bring different challenges, and we can sometimes withdraw from involvement with the congregation if we allow those challenges to discourage us. Luke 15:31 is in the context of the cost of discipleship, and Jesus speaks of building a tower and of going to war. He encourages to be prepared for the challenges we will face in our spiritual work. In Luke 9:62, Jesus reminds us that we should keep our eyes forward once we have committed to becoming involved with the work of our Lord.
Do I appreciate my brothers and sisters? Can I find attributes to appreciate about the other members of my Christian family? I need to demonstrate a positive attitude toward my brothers and sisters, and my responsibility is to help them get to Heaven in whatever ways I am able. Within a congregation, I need to look for those roles I can fulfill, and I need to remain involved – an encouragement to myself and to others.
lesson by Tim Smelser