Week of December 2
Increasing Our Territories
Have you ever grumbled about a “small” job? Maybe you felt it was a thankless task or beneath your abilities. Or perhaps you yearned for something with more responsibility and authority. But the Bible tells us about the importance of being faithful in the small things.
Joshua 13. After the Israelites conquered the land, they still needed to distribute it among the tribes. In this passage, we learn a valuable lesson about how God assigns His territories and opportunities. God gives us our territories based on our measure of faith. When we receive a territory—whether it be our workplace, community, or classroom—God wants us to conquer that territory for Him.
God distributed the Promised Land based on faithfulness to Him, not on birthright. In our limited understanding, we may think God was being unfair or unjust. Yet God sees everything from beginning to end, far beyond our comprehension. He knows the secrets and motives of every heart, even when we do not. God knows how we handle the small tasks, the small blessings, the small opportunities. And our future territories depend on how we handle the little things.
In the parable of the talents, Jesus tells us about three servants who were each given different amounts of money to manage (see Matthew 25:14–30). Was the master unfair? No. He knew their hearts and how each one would respond to his assignment.
The first two servants doubled their entrusted amounts and were commended equally by their master. Yet the third servant hid his one talent instead of using it to benefit his master. Why didn’t he use his resources to bring glory to his master? His excuse was, “I was afraid.” He allowed his fear to prevent him from completing his assignment. And instead of being commended, he lost the trust of the master and any future opportunities for serving him.
Likewise, when God gives us a task—whether big or small, glamorous or tedious—He expects our faithfulness. As we saw in the parable, fear is no excuse for allowing opportunities to pass us by. When we hide our talent in the ground, we lose opportunities for the future.
The person who will be faithful with the small territories will be faithful with the larger ones. And that is why we see Caleb being honored by God in Joshua 14. Forty-five years earlier, when the Israelites were still in the wilderness, Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land—one from each of the 12 tribes (see Numbers 13). When the group found giants in the land, only two of the spies—Joshua and Caleb—were undaunted. The other 10 spies were ready to give up out of fear. Yet Caleb reported, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30).
God loves to see risk-taking faith and optimism in His children. Caleb had that kind of faith. The other 10 spies saw obstacles and danger, but Caleb saw victory. Caleb kept his eyes on the God of promise, the God who controls the future. Instead of fearing what he saw with his eyes, Caleb trusted in the God of all hope.
Caleb received his promised inheritance “because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly” (Joshua 14:14). But Caleb wasn’t ready to retire from God’s work. Even though the hill country was still inhabited by the Anakites, Caleb said, “Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. … I will drive them out just as he said” (Joshua 14:12). Even at 85 years of age, he was ready to take on the giants. He was ready to take on the tough assignment because he trusted in the power of God.
There are plenty of unoccupied territories around us today. Will you say with Caleb, “Give me this hill country”? Commit yourself today to serving the Lord wholeheartedly like Caleb. Ask God for His strength to face the giants, and to keep serving Him until you see Him in heaven.
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