IT’S TIME TO CHANGE SOME THINGS
Sunday Night Sermon
September 27, 1998
Fair Avenue Baptist Church
I’m going to preach a message tonight that I’ve never heard preached before. I’ve never heard anyone preach about this subject but I believe it needs to be preached. I guess since we’ve started working toward our 34th anniversary and starting thinking about Bro. Blakely, it has made me think more about what the Bible taught here in Joshua 19.
I just want to make a few observations and give us, as a church, something to think about. It is something that I want us to think about, to pray about, to plan about, something Scriptural to work on for the future. It’s definitely something I want us as a church to pray about and work toward.
The passage here in Joshua 19 is an interesting passage. Beginning in Chapter 14 we see the land of Canaan being divided into the inheritances of the children of Israel. By the time we get to the end of Chapter 19 the land of Canaan had been divided.
Look again at VERSE 49, “When they had made an end of dividing of the land for inheritance by their coasts, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun among them.”
After it was all said and done, when all the dividing had been done, Joshua asks for his inheritance.
In Ch. 14, Caleb received Hebron, and it is in 14:12 where we read that popular verse, “Now therefore give me this mountain...”
In. Ch. 15, the tribe of Judah received their inheritance,
In Ch. 16, the children of Joseph took the area near Jericho,
In Ch. 17, the children of Manasseh took their inheritance near Gilead and Bashan,
In Ch. 18 the remainder of the land was divided and that brings us to 19:49-51.
Joshua asked for the city of Timnathserah in mount Ephraim.
Notice the modesty of Joshua.
Here is one of the greatest men in the nation, the man chosen to follow Moses,
the man who had led the children of Israel to some of their greatest victories,
the Book of Joshua is his book,
he is an outstanding Bible character.
Notice he did not take a large section of land for his inheritance,
Notice he did not take the most choice area for his inheritance,
Notice he only took a small area for a city,
VERSE 50, “he built the city, and dwelt therein.”
The area of Timnathserah was a barren, mountainous place. It was not a place that any of us would consider special. In fact, we would probably just as soon forget it.
But that is the gist of the message tonight.
The actions of the children of Israel revealed the selfish side of their character.
Instead of giving Joshua, their outstanding leader, the choice of the inheritance, instead of giving him the best area of land for his inheritance, they were more than willing to let him choose last and choose some of the least desireable pieces of land.
And if we fastforward to 1998, we see almost the same thing happening.
A man yields his life to God, goes to Bible college to prepare his life, and then spends the next 30-35-40 years preaching. He gets old and his health gets bad and he has to retire.
And more often than not, in fact, in every case that I know about, the church forgets about the work that the pastor did.
I wonder how many men pastored faithfully for years and years and when they retired, they felt like they were given Timnathserah, the barren place.
Most men have to go to small cities across America.
They pastor small churches that cannot afford to pay substantial salaries, and the truth is that most get paid far below the national average for pastors. They take that meager salary and pay their own taxes and Social Security and retirement and insurance. The salary is usually so low that they cannot plan any kind of retirement.
They pastor small churches that will never receive the recognition that the big city preachers get.
And one day they get old,
Sometimes disease strikes the body,
Sometimes a heart attack,
Sometimes a stroke,
And when they are no longer able to pastor,
They have no place to go,
They have basically no retirement,
And they end up with Timnathserah.
I have given you several prayer requests concerning some property. The old Lee School is for sale and it would provide us with some good opportunities to expand the ministries here.
One thing we could do and one thing I would like for us to look at is to provide a home for retired preachers and their wives. It would be a blessing to our church to give a faithful man of God a place to live, rent-free and utility-free. A man of God could finish out his life serving in a local New Testament church and we could provide that opportunity.
We could provide a widow a place to live out her life without a lot of worry.
Let’s not do the same thing that happened in Joshua 19.
Would you pray with me about what God would allow us to do?
Would you think about what I’ve talked about tonight?
We have the opportunity to do something unusual in our day and age.