The heart of a warrior is an unwavering devotion to a righteous cause. This is our theme for 2022 and beyond as we devote ourselves to the Will King mission. But what does it really mean? How do we have an unwavering devotion and who can we look to for an example? There are two that have been particularly encouraging me as we move forward in God’s call to support children from developing countries receiving heart treatment in Jacksonville.
The first is Joshua, the Biblical figure who inspired this theme. Joshua was Moses’ assistant and we first see him in Exodus 18:8-16 as a military leader in the Israelite army. The Lord has just brought the Israelites out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, opened up the Red Sea for them to pass unharmed and miraculously provided food and water in the wilderness. Joshua has been with them the entire time but is officially mentioned when Moses tells him to choose men to fight against Amalek. Joshua did as Moses asked and with a small step of faithful obedience the Israelites saw a miracle, defeated Amalek and were free to move forward toward the Promised Land with the Lord as their banner. We see Joshua again in Numbers 13 as one of the twelve spies Moses sends out to survey Canaan. The spies return and ten of them report that the land is all that God has promised, but they are fearful to enter because the people there are strong and the cities are fortified. Only Joshua and Caleb trust God and urge the Israelites that they will be able to take the land because God has promised it to them. Another step of faith that produces genuine courage. As Moses’ death approaches, God appoints Joshua as Israel’s new leader. For forty years, Joshua has faithfully watched Moses as he followed after God. He was there when Moses received the ten commandments. He witnessed his reaction to the apostasy of the golden calf. He worked alongside Moses as he led the building of the tabernacle adhering to every one of God’s detailed instructions. He observed Moses obey God’s command to make a copper serpent and raise it up as an antidote to the poisonous bites the discontented Israelites were being afflicted with in the wilderness. He listened as Moses negotiated with the tribes who wanted to settle east of the Jordan and with Zelophehad’s daughters when they asked for an inheritance. He was grieved when Israelites, sometimes even Moses' own family members, chose to rebel against Moses as God’s chosen leader and watched them suffer the consequences. He stood by as Moses faithfully delivered the law and continually urged God’s people to trust Him. By having a front row seat to Moses’ life, Joshua must have learned that obedience isn’t based on a certain future, it’s based on our certain God. Joshua’s life was a series of small steps of faithful obedience and then, as recounted in the book of Joshua, he is blessed with finally leading Israel into the land that God promised them through Abraham. Joshua’s faithfulness blessed him by allowing him to see many miracles in his lifetime. He saw God open up the Red Sea and the Jordan that defied every law of nature. He saw a piece of dead wood sprout almond blossoms overnight. He saw water come from a rock and food come down from Heaven. He felt the Earth shake as the walls of Jericho crumbled. He witnessed the sun and the moon stand still. Joshua was 80 years old when he stepped through the Jordan into Canaan and he shows us what it looks like to have long obedience in the same direction. With every small step of faith he took, he grew in wisdom, courage and strength and he was blessed by seeing God’s faithfulness come to fruition. Joshua’s obedience did not only benefit him personally, but it positioned Israel to receive their inheritance from the Lord. He not only obeyed the Lord individually, but he repeatedly encouraged others to do so as well. Joshua showed his unwavering devotion to the cause of the Lord by being obedient to His instructions and taking small step of faith to do what the Lord commanded over a long period of time.
Second, let’s consider a familiar passage from John 2:1-12 when Jesus turns water into wine. This is the first sign in Jesus’ ministry, but it was only witnessed by a few. I love this about Jesus, he cares for His people so personally. He didn’t perform miracles to draw big crowds or get attention, he performed miracles so that we would believe, for the benefit of a few, and He took the time to reveal Himself to people individually. Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana. Weddings in Jesus’ times were week long celebrations and the groom’s family would have been responsible for providing the wine to last the entire week. When they ran out of wine, Mary doesn’t want the family to be embarrassed and asks Jesus to perform a miracle. She turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever He tells you.” I imagine how the servants must have felt, they were probably nervous and scrambling to figure out what to do. Maybe they had brainstormed some potential solutions and came to the conclusion that none of their ideas would actually work. They were left to rely on, maybe begrudgingly, the command of Mary with no knowledge of who Jesus was and no promised outcome if they did chose to obey. The servants began taking small steps of obedience, all of which would have seemed nonsensical to them. They filled the jars of purification that would have been half full of dirty water used to wash the guests hands upon arrival. Then they had to go get a ladle and draw water out of the stone jars. Next, the most scary step of all, they had to take it to the host so he could drink it. The servants had to take many small steps of faith to see a big miracle. The wedding guests had no idea what had occurred, but the servants and disciples witnessed a miracle because they chose to obey Jesus. John 2:11 says, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in Him.” Small steps of faithful obedience lead to the blessing of believing in Christ. Jesus blesses obedience abundantly. He didn’t just make wine, He made good wine, even better than the wine served at the beginning of the party. He offered extravagant grace for those who showed unwavering devotion to Him.
Jesus’ gift of eternal life is given through the grace of God. There is nothing we can do to earn it and nothing we can give in return for it. Small steps of faithful obedience are a response to God’s grace, not a way to earn it. Once we come in contact with the fullness of God’s irresistible grace, faithful obedience is not a way to get blessings from God but our response to the blessing of salvation given to us. In Matthew 25:29, Jesus is talking about the end times and how we are to wait for His return. He says, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance.” We are called to use our time, money, resources and God given ability wisely and productively in everything we do whether in our homes, work, ministry, hobbies or relationships. This is unwavering devotion - small steps of faithful obedience to what God has asked us to do in response to his grace and love. He has asked us to support children from developing countries who are receiving heart treatment in our city and like Joshua and the servants at the wedding in Cana, our resolve is to continue taking those step of faith, no matter how unclear they may seem, how unknown they might feel or how insignificant they may appear. We invite you to take those steps with us and I truly believe that together, we will see miracles.
Our mission is to support international children receiving heart treatment in Jacksonville, FL.
My name is Courtney Hughes and I am Will's mommy. I am happy that you are here to read Will's story and make a difference with us!