We’re supposing here.
Suppose your church assembled a group composed of the following people: the pastor and staff, the office staff, the deacons, Sunday School teachers, committee members, and program leaders. And suppose I have 30 minutes to say anything on my heart. We meet in a room ideal for that size a group with no electronic devices or amplifications. I set up my easel in front and begin.
Now, supposing I had the undivided attention of the group, I would begin by telling this from Scripture.
A few weeks before Moses retired from the scene and Joshua stepped in to lead God’s people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land of Canaan, Moses had some final words.. The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is the essence of what he shared, a recap of where they had been and what had happened in their recent past.
Moses strongly felt the need to impress one huge thing on God’s people as they were about to possess “a land of milk and honey.” We would call this a warning, in fact.
“You are about to come into a land filled with everything you’ve ever wanted. You’ll move into houses you did not build.
You’ll harvest crops you didn’t plant or cultivate.
You’ll drink from wells you did not dig.
You’ll gather grapes from vineyards and olives from groves you did not plant.”
“You will eat and be satisfied for the first time in your memory. And when that happens…
Beware lest you forget the Lord.”
Prosperity has a way of fogging up the spiritualities. Deadening the spirit. Dulling the memories. Derailing the well-intentioned.
Do not forget God. (Deuteronomy 6:12)
Do not desert God. (Deut. 6:14)
Do not test God. (Deut. 6:16)
Rather, be careful to obey Him. Do what is right in His sight.
And just in case anyone did not get that the first time, Moses repeated these words in Deuteronomy 8:12-14.
Leaders, your church is prosperous in a hundred ways. Your community is thriving. Personally, you are living at a higher standard than your grandparents ever dreamed of attaining. Furthermore, you do it with hardly a thought, as though this were the norm and anyone could do it if they worked as hard as you do.
You and I have forgotten how blessed we are.
Leaders, it’s time once again for you to:
–renew your thankfulness to God for His abundant blessings upon you, your church, your community, and this nation.
–recommit yourself to be faithful with what He has given you.
–restructure your lives to practice the faith you say you believe. The old structures (like some ancient bridges in this country!) do not hold up forever, but must be constantly inspected and often replaced.
Now, let me admit to you my minor disappointment with what Moses said.