Just stuff the boxes. Keep the line moving. Don’t dilly-daddle, just pick it up, put it in the box and move on.
This was my ordering chant from the sidelines of the assembly line. We were filling shoeboxes to send to kids in foreign countries. Toys, notepads, pencils, erasers, soap and washcloths, jewelry, and fun trinkets were piled high in totes set up on tables. We collected and purchased items all year and now the time had come. 500 boxes had to be filled and there was no time to waste.
Since organization is something I thrive on, I felt it necessary to make sure it was all lined up just right, instruct each volunteer that came to help, and correct them if they got backed up or out of line. Luckily, I did not have a whip in my hand.
One of our volunteers had a box, walking through the line, picking up items, placing them in his box, and he stopped. He picked up a toy and made a comment about the kid who would get that toy and how excited he would be. He then remarked about how he wanted to search through all the toys and find the perfect one for this child.
In an instant, the words came out of my mouth, “don’t think, just pack!” But in that moment, the realization hit me.
I had lost focus on the true meaning of what we were here to do.
I was so busy doing the “work” that I forgot about the reason. Before continuing, I needed to stop and refocus.
In our study through Joshua, we’ve just witnessed God leading the Israelites across the Jordan River on dry ground. The priests, carrying the ark of the covenant, still stood in the midst of the river with the waters being held back by the Lord. The Jordan River was the last thing between the Israelites and conquering the land God had promised them. They were all safely on the other side and prepared for battle. But the Lord instructed them to do something first.
“Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” (Joshua 4:2-7)
Before they could move any further in conquering the land, God called them to build a monument. This monument would remind them of what God had miraculously done for them. He didn’t want them to lose focus on the true meaning of what He had called them to do. Before continuing, they needed to stop and refocus.
Lately, I’ve caught myself several times saying, “what are we really doing this for? What is the purpose?” In our careers, our ministry, our families, we can lose sight of what we are really here for.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed, sentenced to death, beaten and ridiculed, hung up and tortured on the cross, and died for us. But friends, it didn’t stop there. He was buried and three days later He rose again! Victorious over death and Hell! These things are incredible! Life-saving! But even Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the very Son of God, knew that before completing the work on Calvary, it was important to focus on God and what He had called Him to do.
“And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:39-42)
Today, let’s stop and refocus. You have a purpose! You are a part of God’s plan! Let’s put our eyes on Jesus and surrender.
Not my will, but thine.