This verse of Scripture is well known, we may even have it displayed on a plaque in our homes. These words remind us of our purpose in life; to serve the Lord. Do you remember the old Baltimore Catechism question:
“Why did God make me?” The answer: “God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him
…” It all seems so clear; that we are to serve the Lord, but there is so much more to those words. Joshua, the one chosen by God to complete the journey into the Promised Land that began under the leadership of Moses, was growing old and becoming more and more aware of the division among the Israelites. So in a last attempt to unify the tribes before he died, Joshua calls everyone together; all the leaders and elders of the tribes, those they respected as people of great wisdom. He addressed them in a heartfelt, yet challenging oration. He recalled for them the covenant that God had made with their ancestors, one that would assure their future. He spoke to them of how important it was to remember that their allegiance to foreign gods would cause them despair. He challenged them to put away other gods and turn their hearts to the one true God of Israel. His ultimatum: “Decide today whom you will serve,” clearly stating that he and his house would serve the Lord. This became a day of great reunification as the Israelites responded: “The Lord our God we will serve, Him we will obey.”
Often in our lives we, like the Israelites, lose focus about who or what we serve. We know in our hearts that all we have comes from a loving God who promised Abraham and his ancestors (including us) that He is our God and we are His people. And we of this day and time are even more fortunate than the Israelites, for we are afforded the great gift of Jesus who models for us how to serve God.
We need to stay focused on what is really important in life. We need to reach out to others loving and serving them as Jesus did. It is in serving God through Jesus Christ that we receive the reward of eternal life. Going back to the answer of that Baltimore Catechism question, there is more: “God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him and to be happy with him forever in heaven.” As we come to know God, we are blessed by His love and we have placed upon our hearts a desire to serve him. So let us take into our hearts this day, the message from Joshua and make a conscience decision about who we will serve. Let us become unified with one another as we reach out to all people; our families, our parish, our community, our world. For it is in serving others as Jesus taught that we will gain eternal life with our Lord and God.
Go now and serve one another!
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC