“We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes…” –Numbers 13:33
In Numbers 13, the people of Israel are standing on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, looking into the land of Canaan, the land that God gave to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is the same land that God had promised to give them after freeing them from slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. The Lord tells Moses to send spies throughout the land to see what kind of land it is. The spies return with a mixed report: the land is very good, but the people who live there now are very formidable, descended from giants. Ten spies don’t believe the land can be conquered and they say so, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes…”
Notice their point of view. The people are selling themselves short. “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” We are not big enough to defeat the giants in Canaan. We are not numerous enough to conquer the population. We are not enough to reclaim this land. The spies convince the people to sell themselves short.
Where do we sell ourselves short as a congregation? Where do we doubt what we are able to do as God’s people here in this place? Do we seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes?
Here’s the bigger question: where to do we forget God’s hand has guided us in the past and why do we fail to see He is guiding us now?
The ten spies who said it couldn’t be done had forgotten about the God who had done so much for them already. God raised up Moses and sent him to Egypt to free them. God spared His people in the first Passover, which convinced Pharoah to free the Israelites. God parted the Red Sea when Pharoah changed his mind and sent chariots after the former slaves. For some reason, these ten spies thought that God’s concern for them was over and it was now up to them. Because it was up to them, they sold themselves short.
Mt. Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church began when faithful Lutheran families were called by God to meet in homes and schools in Indianola. God continued to bless Mt. Calvary with passionate pastors, sacred structures, various vicars, and dedicated DCE’s. In recent years, we’ve been blessed with balanced budgets and copious contributions. And through it all have been the people of God, faithfully following as God has led us to bless after blessing after blessing. And God is not done yet!
Why would we stop now? Why would we sell ourselves short? I know that the world is changing, and it seems as though there are giants all around us. Move forward anyway. God is still with us!
In August, we’ll be looking at some simple ways that we can move forward in the mission of God. Many of you have gone through the book, “Joining Jesus on His Mission” by Greg Finke. I’m inviting all of you to join in this adventure this fall. To help you understand how easy and how important this is, I’ll be preaching on the five practices of an everyday missionary, one each Sunday through August and into Labor Day weekend. These are simple questions you can ask each other regularly to help you to see how God is still blessing you and I today.
These questions are meant to help us as the Church to stop seeing ourselves as grasshoppers and help us to enter this new world that is around us. It seems that the obstacles are insurmountable, but God will continue to be with us.
Pastor Tom Vanderbilt