You’ve been there—history class. The teacher has the class open its books to page “whatever” and begins an overview of history, going on about how this one guy did all this stuff…and how that affected some other people …and then in another sort of related setting, the same dude made something happen that set the stage for a major world change. And of course, by now, you’re looking around the room, drawing on your shoe, searching for that piece of gum you had in your pocket, wondering how long until the end of class…
After what seems like forever, you hear bits and pieces of what your teacher is saying. Now some of the names and events are starting to sound familiar. You think you’ve heard something about a few of them on T.V. or on those short news blips on your favorite radio station (which usually makes you punch up a different station with music playing!). You decide to listen a little more.
Your teacher keeps describing people and events that have shaped history. Soon you hear the name of somebody you actually know. The next one noted is a lady in your neighborhood, your good friend’s aunt. Then, you’re completely blown away! People you’re related to are mentioned! You look around the room—not noticing it before, but everybody’s got that same “What’s going on?!” look.
Your teacher steps to the center front of the classroom and looks right at you…looks directly at the girl next to you…Makes eye contact with every single person in the room. And then, your teacher, seeming to drill right into you with some sort of x-ray vision, asks, “What difference are YOU going to make?”
Read the Book: Joshua 24:1-15. (Suggestion: A group member reads 24:1-2a, and then has four group members each read a paragraph or 2-3 verses in 24:2b-13. The group leader finishes the passage by reading 24:14-15. Oh, when you read it, put some life into it. Treat the account as more than a reading in history class.)
Every choice we make is significant in some way and has an effect on our future, either immediately or after some time. But the choice that Joshua asked his people to make impacts every moment of the rest of life here and all of life beyond this world forever.
Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard that you even have this choice to consider. Maybe you’ve heard it, made it, but never followed through with it. Or, you may have made it and been doing your best with God’s help to live it. Wherever you are, listen again to that choice you have and the challenge to live it out:
“Now fear, honor and completely respect the Lord. Be completely faithful in serving Him. Those things that have been like idols or gods to you, that you worship, throw them out with the garbage and serve the Lord. But if that’s not what you’d like to do, then choose for yourself today: Who will you serve? Will it be the gods that you and everybody else have served? Will it be the things or people that society idolizes and says is most important? Or can you say and live the same statement Joshua made back then: ‘As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’? What’s YOUR choice?
Have YOU Got a Story?
Have group members gather in a circle. Ask everyone to think of at least one way that God obviously did something in his or her life and/or his or her family’s life over the past ten years or more. Allow 1-2 minutes for group members to think. Then, the leader models by briefly (one sentence or phrase) sharing one way he or she has seen God at work. Encourage group members to speak out at any time a thought comes to their minds, letting each other hear how God has been a part of their own history.
Voicing My Choice
Ask each group member to choose a partner then stand or sit with that partner. Tell pairs they will have 5 minutes to tell each other how they choose to response to the challenge: “Choose for yourself today: who will you serve?” Encourage them to be raw and honest with one another, then to pray for one another. Perhaps, you’ll want to have the partners hold one another accountable even beyond this time together.
©1998 Kat Kreations/Kathi Isbell for Jr. High Connection ’98 – Friday Night Devo