Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:1-8

We all have people in life we look up to – parents, aunties and uncles, teachers. They affect us in profound ways and teach us a lot. But there are a few people who affect us even more – people we look up to so much that they have a profound influence on the direction of our lives. These are the people who help to shape who we are. I know who these people are in my own life because sometimes, I catch them speaking through my mouth. I hear myself repeat a sentence from Professor Harvey, a college professor who expanded my worldview and my faith, or a phrase often repeated by my high school youth director, who helped me to see my own gifts. Most of all, though, I hear my mom speaking. I hear my mom speaking when I speak words of comfort to another, or when I’m praying, or even in silly things, like the way I speak to my dog. Isn’t it amazing how much one person can change our lives – and even who we are?

Joshua, too, had someone who shaped him, a mentor to whom he looked up. His mentor was none other than Moses. Our scriptures make it seem like Joshua had a close relationship, working with Moses and being groomed to eventually take over as Israel’s leader. Moses likely had years of opportunity to model the kind of leadership he hoped Joshua would exhibit. And when we look at the career of Joshua, we can see Moses’ influence on him. Like Moses, Joshua spent a lot of time thinking about the law of God and teaching it to the people. In a very Moses-like fashion, he even climbed a mountain and read the law to the people. Joshua also seems to have learned tactical lessons from Moses. Just as Moses once set Joshua as a spy into the Promised Land, Joshua sent spies into Jericho. And Joshua, like Moses, was acutely aware of God’s presence with him, even removing his sandals because he is on holy ground, just as Moses did. Both strived to lead their people, not just on the physical journey, but also on the spiritual journey.

When you look back at your own life and your own habits, whose fingerprints do you find there? Whose voice do you hear when you speak? What is the most important lesson they taught you? Who have you been a mentor to and what lessons were most important for you to teach them?

Friends, today, I invite you to spend time journaling or in prayer, giving thanks to God for the people who have shaped you and giving thanks for the people God has put in your life and allowed you to teach.