Lessons of an Assistant

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment…’ So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God… And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” “Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets in his hand… The tablets were the work of God… When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, ‘There is a noise of war in the camp.'” “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” Exodus 24:12-13,18; 32:15-17; 33:11

” Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him… There has not arisen a prophet since like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,.. for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to do in Egypt,.. in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:9-12

“Moses my servant is dead. Now arise, [Joshua,] go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving them…  Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” “[Joshua said], ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’” Joshua 1:2,5; 24:15

Joshua appears on the Bible scene as a young assistant already in place. There was no fanfare in his choosing, just a tucking under the wing of Moses, the humble servant of God who led Israel out of Egypt and over forty years in wilderness to the edge of the Promised Land. Whatever his background to this time, Joshua’s years as assistant to this mighty leader shaped his heart, his vision, and his will to serve as God’s warrior.

We seldom prefer to be number two, to follow, carry the bags, do the dirty work. But there are life-changing lessons we learn at the feet and by the side of great leaders, from their devotional life and conversations with God, their leadership strategies, their handling of failure and consequences, their time management, their interaction with colleagues and those they lead. It is the utmost privilege to spend time under a master, gleaning while assisting great and capable people who depend on God. We get fresh glimpses of the Lord Himself as He works in and uses His own.

Is there a leader the Lord has given us to assist? What skills and habits have we observed that we can emulate, or implement? In our support role, how open are we to instruction and correction, how willing to do the menial background or hard frontline work?

If caregiving one who has lost or is lacking capabilities, what are we learning about aging gracefully or accepting help? What can we learn about prayer, the anticipation of heaven, spiritual reliance on Jesus when physical strength wanes? Do we take interest and time to ask about life wisdom from experience?

The Lord beautifully entwines generations and orders relationships to equip and sanctify us. Are we taking full advantage of our positions to become more like Jesus, and more Jesus to those we serve?

Father, help me make the most of Your assignments. May I learn much and well, and glorify You in the practice.

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