The Scripture reading this week is Joshua 24:1-18
The Sermon title is Thank God! Serve God?
Early Thoughts: After the conquest there is remembering. And in the remembering there is a reminder. Thank God for where you are, God has led you to this place and here is everything God has done for you.
Remembering is, I think, an integral part of thanksgiving. Remembering is what clears space for us to say thank you.
But Joshua takes it another step. Joshua challenges the people to not only remember and be thankful, but to serve. In essence Joshua challenges them to put their money where their mouth is.
I want to encourage us to make the same challenge. We are fairly good at reminding ourselves (periodically if not on an ongoing basis) how we have been blessed. We are fairly good at reminding ourselves to say thank you. But as people of faith our story and tradition pushes us to take the next step. Do our actions show that we understand ourselves to be living in service to God? Or do our actions show that we understand ourselves to be living in service to ourselves/our families/some other god? Which comes first?
If God is the source of our blessings, of our abundance, of our life then what is the appropriate response? Service, says the faith story (Joshua and Moses and the Prophets and Jesus all appear to agree). Commitment, says the faith story. Putting God first, says the faith story.
What does it meant to say, as Joshua does, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"? How do we live that out? I think it is shown in how we use the blessings and gifts we have been given. What we do with our time, our talent, and our treasure shows who we serve. I also think it shows something of the depth of our thanksgiving.