The book of Deuteronomy takes place over the course of just 37 days. Moses is an elderly man as he writes this wonderful book and he is preparing Israel for new leadership because he knows he will soon die.
What a time for Israel. Even though they often stumbled under Moses’ leadership, the people see him as their deliverer and understand his special relationship with God. Before Israel is to cross the Jordan River and capture the Promised Land, Moses wants to renew Israel’s pledge to God and introduce the people to Joshua, their new leader.
Can you imagine how frightened the people were standing on the brink of the land they had waited 40 years to inhabit … and now their leader is going to die at this pivotal time.
And so in Deuteronomy 31:7-8, we see Moses calling Joshua to stand with him.
It reads: “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed’” (NKJV). Then, in verse 10, Moses hands over the Law to the priest and elders.
In this story, we can see four characters that I think should exist within every modern church. If you look close you might see yourself in one, or more, of these characters. So let’s examine Four Key Characters of the Church and see how every congregation needs:
1. A Moses. Moses was a man after God’s heart. In Deuteronomy 34:9, we see Moses do an amazing thing: “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Mentoring requires sacrifice. Moses surely wanted to go into the Promised Land, but he could not and so he followed God and passed his blessing onto Joshua. Our churches need godly leaders to step up in these critical days to sacrifice their time and invest in training up new champions for Christ. This is how we reach new generations of believers and take the Gospel into unreached areas.
2. A Joshua. Moses had mentored Joshua in the ways of God, and now it was time for Joshua to lead. God is apt to move us into new responsibilities at any moment, so we need to be prepared. Joshua had willingly served God in subservient roles because he was mature in his faith and embraced the way in which God was using him. Our churches need men and women who put ego aside in order to properly serve God. We see here that good mentoring results in good leadership — now and in the future — within the church. Every church needs a Joshua standing at the ready to serve and to lead, as God directs.
3. A godly team. No matter your role — teaching Sunday school, driving a van, doing church maintenance, praying daily — God wants you to be a faithful representative of the Gospel. In Deuteronomy 31:10, as Moses is handing over the Law to the elders, the Liberty Bible Commentary says, “This symbolic act shows that he was giving them the assignment of teaching the Law and the responsibility of causing all Israel to obey it.” While we live in the Age of Grace, church leaders today continue to bear the responsibility of mentoring and demonstrating to others how to live mature, diligent, humble lives in Christ. A godly team of believers is a powerful force in maintaining unity and having an effective church testimony.
4. A people hungry for leadership. Benjamin Franklin stated, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This is a great quote for the church today, as we need to be diligently involving our young people and those who are young in their faith in the ways of Christ. Joshua led Israel in an awesome defeat of the great walled city of Jericho — and it was all because the people acted in obedience to God. They hungered to learn about God and to serve God. To have churches with major impacts, we need this type of commitment to God’s plan.
There is no greater way to ensure that we are developing the character of Christ within our churches than by mentoring people who are hungry for leadership.
Are you mentoring someone? Is God exhorting you to reach out to a particular individual or family that needs to be trained to live in His grace?
Christian mentoring is urgently needed today. If you are a Moses or a Joshua or a church leader, you can have a huge impact on young people or new believers. There are so many who are hungry to grow, but all too often no one is there to help them along the path.
Investing in someone’s life is certainly a risk, but the rewards of seeing people grow in faith and knowledge in Christ is amazing beyond words!
Let’s commit together to prayerfully minister to others as never before because our churches need us. God bless you, dear friends, as you serve Him.