April 30

Joshua 22:7b-8 (NIV) 7b When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, 8saying, "Return to your homes with your great wealth–with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing–and divide with your brothers the plunder from your enemies."

The tribes of Gad, Rueben, and half of Manasseh had done their duty. They stayed the extra 5 plus years fighting along side their brothers to secure a place for them. Because of their integrity in keeping their word they were rewarded with their portion of the spoil from the enemies. They were not going back empty handed.

Those that stayed behind to watch out for their territory and protect the women and children were to receive their share of the spoils of war. They hadn't risked their lives to capture it, but they did the job assigned to them. I imagine the soldiers returned to homes that were in better condition than before because of those who stayed behind.

Not everyone is called to go out on the field and win the masses. We are all called to be a witness. We are all called to be servants. Some are called to stay by the stuff and keep the home fires burning. Will they receive any less than those who risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel? Not if that was their calling. If they were obedient to God where they were, they will share in the spoils of war. They will receive their portion. It is not the role you fill but your faithfulness in doing what you are called to do. Remember, Christ says, "Well done good and FAITHFUL servant.

Consider: Do I recognize the victory belongs to all God's faithful servants?

April 30

Luke 2:48-49, 52 (NIV) 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." 49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

We have very few accounts of Jesus' life from birth to thirty years of age. These verses at the end of Luke are all we have to go on. In the tradition of that day, a man was a disciple under a master until the age of thirty, then he was ready to be an instructor. Jesus needed to grow and learn just as you and I do. The author of Hebrews tells us that He learned obedience through the things He suffered. The last verse of today's text tells us He grew in wisdom. The humanity of Jesus experienced learning and growing as we do.

When the family went to one of the religious feasts in Jerusalem, the Feast of Passover, Jesus was around the age when a young Jewish male was considered as one of the men. This year, since He was no longer considered a child, He began to ask the religious leaders questions and answer theirs. Verse 47 tells us that they were amazed at His understanding of the Scriptures. Jesus' mind was fully yielded to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. They probably wondered under which Rabbi Jesus was being taught. Rabbi means teacher. Jesus was listening to The Rabbi, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus' parents were headed back to Nazareth and thought Jesus was playing with relatives. After awhile, they grew concerned and headed back to Jerusalem. Mary probably knew right where to look, in the Temple. He had "wasted" their valuable time and worried them. Jesus responded, "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Jesus knew His unique call and mission even from that early age.

Jesus went home with His parents and submitted Himself to them as an obedient child until His ministry began. His life, which overflowed with love, joy, peace and patience, gained favor with God and men. He patiently learned and awaited the call for His mission to begin. If you are in a learning period, don't be overly concerned about lack of ministry. The present time may be for learning and growing.

Prayer: Lord, help me to grow in wisdom and learn through the things I suffer.