Can you imagine how Tom Rice must have felt on Wednesday, June 6, 2019, as he parachuted from a plane over Normandy, France, to commemorate what he did 75 years ago? The 97-year-old WWII veteran made the jump (along with some other much younger men) as a way of “honoring the airborne soldiers who descended into gunfire and death ahead of the June 6, 1944, seaborne invasion.”
As I see it, Mr. Rice is a two-time hero. Of course, he and all his fellow WWII vets are heroes for the sacrifices they made on our behalf to stop a brutal dictator, but now he’s a hero again for showing us the value of pushing his God-given ability and health to the limit.
Our house church studies this summer have focused on Kingdom citizenship. The second study in the series helped us understand the value of a vision statement. A vision statement is a declaration of an organization's (or an individual’s) objectives. Knowing the vision helps to guide decision-making along the way to our goal.
In the book of Joshua, Caleb is a Biblical example of an 85-year-old man’s heroic vision for his future: “Give me the hill country that God promised me through His servant Moses. It may be that I can drive out the Anakim (giants) from their fortified cities.” Caleb’s abilities to see beyond his current situation and to see through any potential obstacles in his way provide believers with practical application points when considering their own vision statements.
Based on God’s Word: Back at the age of forty, Caleb encouraged the Israelites to proceed and enter the Promised Land. But, eight of the ten men who spied out the land were too afraid; they focused on their own fears and not on the faithfulness of their God. This lack of faith delayed the entrance for forty years. That’s when God spoke through Moses and promised Caleb an inheritance in the new land as a reward for his strong faith.
Use God’s blessings no matter what: Not everyone is blessed with that kind of physical fitness at 85, of course. But, most of us do maintain strengths in other areas. Whatever it is, God has a plan to use it in His Kingdom. Caleb simply looked at himself, evaluated what God had given him, and decided to use it to claim the Promised Land.
Act boldly to serve: Caleb boldly declared, “Give me the hill country of which the Lord spoke that day!” He didn’t stand around kicking the dust, trying to decide whether he should try this or not. He seized the opportunity and moved forward, recognizing that it might not work just as he thought. Notice what Caleb says, ”It may be that the Lord will be with me.” Caleb was willing to act on his faith in a bold way, making sure that “he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel” (Joshua 14: 14b).
Like Tom Rice, Caleb became a two-time hero, too. First, when he demonstrated his faith in God for victory in the Promised Land and then again when he captured mountains and conquered giants in the land God gave him. (See Joshua 15: 13-14)
What’s Your Personal Ministry Vision?
Hopefully, we can see that no matter whether we are 85 or 8.5 years old, it’s never too soon or too late to prayerfully ask the Lord to help you know what He has for you as a Kingdom citizen.
Base your vision on God’s Word. Spend time in prayer asking for His guidance as you study the Scriptures every day. Then wait for Him to reveal His plan at the right time.
Evaluate what God has already given you. Remember when Moses was reluctant to lead his people out of Egypt when God spoke to him in the burning bush? God responded with a question, “What’s that in your hand?” When Moses looked at his old wooden staff, God told him to throw it down. That was an act of giving it over to God. After the staff turned into a snake, God said to pick it up again. When he did, Moses held in his hand a powerful tool through which God would perform many miracles leading to freedom for His people. Whatever you discover God has given you, throw it down, so to speak, as a way of giving it to God.
Grab your place of service. Once you understand your ministry vision and see what God has given you to carry it out, get involved, and watch what God can do.
Challenge to Act: For the good of the Kingdom, FBCH, and your own future, commit today to begin the process of discovering what God has given you to enable you to write out and act on your personal ministry vision statement.