Ever play the game “Simon Says” when you were a kid? One person is ‘Simon’ who shouts out directions to everyone else who is playing. To keep others on their toes the ‘Simon’ would give a direction without the requisite statement “Simon says”. Anyone not paying full attention and completes the action is considered out. Only when the phrase “Simon says” is stated is a person safe. Listening attentively and paying close attention to the leader are the skills required to be successful at the game. These are the same skills the Israelites needed when traveling through the wilderness after being set free by God from the Egyptians.
Moses led the Israelites through the Wilderness but God was the leader. God knew how to reach the Promised Land and was present with the Israelites each step of the way. He was present with them in the Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire at night. When the Cloud moved they packed up and moved with Him. This required that the Israelites be watching Him at all times, listening for His Voice and ready to move at a moment’s notice. They would make camp and stay either for days or for months. Then one day the Cloud would move. The Israelites would pack up their belongings to travel following in step with the Cloud.
Following a leader requires one to surrender control and submit to another’s leadership. Our American culture prides itself on individual effort and the ability to determine one’s own future. The thought of someone else telling us what to do is foreign to our thinking. Surrendering control to God is a daily discipline we must practice every day. We as His disciples, His students, submit to His authority and follow wherever He leads us. We practice listening to His Voice. We do our best to be ready to move when He moves. At times God will lead us to new opportunities we may not have ever thought of on our own.
The Israelites were not always the perfect followers. They would grumble to Moses about the ‘good times’ back when they were in Egypt. They were not always trusting of God’s leading and wondered what He was doing from time to time. We will struggle in our own following. We will question what God is doing, where He is leading us. But He will not leave us alone. He remains with us at all times.
By God’s grace Israel finally did enter the Promised Land. By God’s grace we are forgiven for our missteps, the times we act without the requisite “Simon says”. He continues to lead us to the Promised Land.
The missional life is one of great joy, adventure and submission. Listen and learning at the feet of Jesus Christ are required skills to be able to know where and how God is calling us to serve and share Him with all people. These missional habits will assist each of us to follow the Cloud and be ready to move when He moves.
What would it look like when we wake up each morning asking God, “What have You for me to do today?”. Imagine the adventures God will lead you on. Hey, you never know where it may lead you or the people you will encounter along the way.
As you have been resolved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ may you be resolved to serve and share Him in all you do and say.
This Week’s Challenge: Each day ask God, “What have You for me to do today?” Look for where God is leading you to serve Him that day.