Monday, August 10, 2015

The Days of Old

By Melanie Rigney

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them, “I am now one hundred and twenty years old and am no longer able to move about freely; besides, the Lord has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan. It is the Lord, your God, who will cross before you; he will destroy these nations before you, that you may supplant them. It is Joshua who will cross before you, as the Lord promised.” (Deuteronomy 31:1-3)

Think back on the days of old, reflect on the years of age upon age. Ask your father and he will inform you, ask your elders and they will tell you. (Deuteronomy 32:7)

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Matthew 18:12-14)

Lord, You know what is best. Help me to appreciate that even when I don’t have a starring role in my earthly space that You will never lose track of me.

And so, Moses didn’t make it to the Promised Land. The Lord had told him that
(1648-1733) and others, published
by P. de Hondt in The Hague in 1728 

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
would be the case. He was too old, too worn, simply used up and spent. And yet, in today’s first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses doesn’t wail and complain to God about the unfairness of it all. No, having reminded them earlier of all that the Lord desires of them, he reminds them of God’s love for them, how He will win victory in battle for them… and introduces Joshua as the one who will next lead them.

We don’t always get what we want in life, whether it’s acclaim and accolades and worldly goods, or things that seem natural, that everyone who draws breath should have a right to enjoy—friends, love, a place to sleep, a bit of bread. Moses reminds us when those things do not come our way, becoming bitter and turning our face away from the Lord is not the answer. He reminds us to seek the faith and wisdom to acknowledge what experience has taught us about the criticality of total reliance on the Lord, despite the disappointments we might face, and to share the joy of that reliance as we hand over our responsibilities to those who will lead next.

Set aside a bit of jealousy or bitterness you harbor against someone who succeeded you in a position or ministry. Endorse the person’s effort where you can.

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