Monday, May 15, 2006

Giants and Grasshoppers

Sometimes the challenges we face seem unfeasably large. The picture shows Luke with two boys from a team he played touch rugby against who were the same age as him. (fortunately it was touch and not tackle - so although beaten his team lived to fight another day). In the event they played pretty well and only lost 4-1 which felt like a moral victory given the relative sizes of some of the players involved.

On the plane from Auckland to LA I was talking to someone about why we had gone to New Zealand. I spoke of the challenge to relate biblical faith to western culture, to see the gospel impacting New Zealand and the sense of call to the opportunities of the Pacific Rim. They listened intently and asked good questions. it transpired that in the past they had been involved in leading a large church youth group. then came their killer question: "But you don't seriously believe that you can do anything that will make a difference do you? I don't mean to curb your enthusiasm but surely it's just too big and too difficult?"

I knew what they meant and I found myself thinking of giants and grasshoppers.

In Numbers 13 the twelve spies report to Moses and the people about the land they have explored that God has promised to them.

"Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it."But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us."
So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.
"There also we saw the Giants, the sons of Anak and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

The land is good is the unanamous verdict but the majority report is that the challenge was too great.

Joshua and Caleb had faith. They had a world view shaped by God and the Grapes.
They did not deny the challenge but believed that with God they could overcome.
The other spies had fear. They had a world view characterised by Giants and Grasshoppers.
They allowed their sense of the scale of the challenge to distort their perceptions of the land and of themselves.

As we face new challenges in the 21st Century the people of God urgently need those who will stand by the minority report. That yes we believe that we can make a difference, because we know who we have believed and are confident that he is able to extend his kingdom as he has promised he will do.

Besides even if you are a grasshopper you can take out a really serious giant with a small smooth stone if God is on your side.

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