Numbers 13:1-3 / Numbers 13:21-33 / Numbers 14:6, 1, 3-5, 2, 7-11 / Matthew 7:9-11
Once you’ve committed to not burying your gifts, the next step is to DREAM BIG.
Google co-founder Larry Page recently commented:
Over time I’ve learned, surprisingly, that it’s tremendously hard to get teams to be super ambitious … It’s why we’ve put so much energy into hiring independent thinkers at Google, and setting big goals. Because if you hire the right people and have big enough dreams, you’ll usually get there. And even if you fail, you’ll probably learn something important.
What would you try to accomplish professionally if you knew with 100% confidence that success was the only option?
Today’s readings focus on one of my favorite stories of the Bible. Joshua and Caleb, along with 10 other spies, go out ahead of the Israelites to investigate God’s promised land over 40 days. When they come back, they all agree that the land is breathtaking, but only Joshua and Caleb want to move in. Everyone else is so focused on the giants currently occupying the territory that fear overtakes them. Caleb interrupts the group and says, (paraphrasing) “God has this under control,” but the Israelites choose to focus on fear instead of faith and don’t embrace this reality.
Jason Warman, the pastor at my church Coast Life in Venice, Florida, recently preached a sermon series based on this Scripture and said something that stuck with me. “Don’t treat yourself as common if God has called you uncommon.”
It’s easy to read this story and think that maybe the Israelites are being kind of chicken. God led them out of Egypt, protected them from the plagues, parted the Red Sea, and they DON’T BELIEVE THAT HE WILL DELIVER THIS LAND TO THEM?!?!?! This was very much how I used to read the story of the twelve spies, but I’ve ended up with a different perspective on this one. God’s done amazing things in my life regularly and yet I am still sometimes unwilling trust His new promises for me. We need to be more like Joshua and Caleb, choosing faith not fear.
The other point is that we need to stop putting God in a box. We need to ASK him for what we really want to do and accomplish. In another of today’s readings, Christ compares God’s love for us with the love of our father. I realize that each of us has uniquely experienced the way our earthly father loved us. I am blessed with amazing parents, and so this story has always resonated with me.
When I became a parent myself, this story took on an even deeper meaning for me. I remember getting up in the middle of the night to feed my 9-month-old son. I was warming up his bottle and he was looking up at me with his big eyes, screaming to communicate “Why won’t you feed me? I’m hungry!” Of course, I knew he was hungry. I also knew that I couldn’t give him the bottle until his mom’s milk was warm enough to not bother his stomach, but he didn’t know that. All his 9-month old brain could grasp was “I’m hungry and you’re not fixing it.”
We are all just like my son. We need to remember that, if the things we are asking God for are good and holy but they don’t seem to be happening “fast enough,” He has reasons for the timing that we don’t know. He may be looking down on us and saying, “Not yet. It will make you sick."
At the beginning of today’s reading, I asked what you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail. Have you asked God to be a part of and bless that big dream?
Adapted From: Redefining Work - You Version