In Nikko, Japan, there is a very un-Japanese, old stone church; it looks like it`s been taken from an English country village. Under each window are inscriptions telling who donated the glass, and in memory of whom it was donated, and all the names are English and from the nineteenth century. A strange relic from early missionary times in Japan.
Have you ever thought that Joshua could have done what these donors of glass windows did? He could have felt it his responsibility to see to it that the memory and reputation of Moses was preserved to coming generations, that the people of Israel wouldn´t forget their great leader.
After all, wasn`t it too much to think he could do what Moses had not done – lead the people into the Promised Land? Wasn´t he just the assistant of Moses? Wouldn`t it be more appropriate for him to see to it that everything was preserved, just as it was in Moses´ days?
There had been a time of promises, the days of Abraham. There had been a time of dreaming and waiting, the years in Egypt. And there had been a time of building foundations, the days of Moses. Now the days of Joshua had come, and because he listened to God those days became the time of action and fulfillment!
Christians have always had a temptation to build memorials: Tombstones or cathedrals have been raised in memory of forefathers. But God leads His people on. He keeps them looking ahead. The past, how glorious it may be, is never what God tells us to focus on, He wants us to move on. So He never calls anyone just to preserve what someone else has accomplished. He leads on, opens new vistas, gives new visions, saying: Lead my people forward!
Moses had set the stage for Joshua. Without the work of Moses, the actions of Joshua would have been impossible. But without the work of Joshua, the lifetime work of Moses would have left the Israelites walking in the desert, short of what God had promised. God brings His man, in His time, to do His work.
What does this mean to you? Maybe you shouldn`t let the work of others be a model that limits you. Or maybe even, brave as Joshua, you should take up the responsibility of bringing some of God´s people, yourself included, into that which God has promised. And it certainly means that you should acknowledge your unique gifting and calling, and like Joshua say “Yes, Lord!” A new land, on the other side of the river, may be waiting for you to come! `Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go` (Joshua 1:9).