READ: Deuteronomy 34
THINK: The Pentateuch ends with the death of Moses. And though the description is short, it is powerful and beautiful. Moses is called “The servant of the LORD,” he is hailed as being strong in mind and body up to the time of his death, he is remembered as one who invested his leadership gifts in the next generation, he is recalled as one whom “The LORD knew face to face,” and he is eulogized as a prophet so great that his deeds have not been matched by anyone since his death. What a legacy!
Even though Moses was imperfect and even though his own sin meant that he’d never get to set foot in the Promised Land, he stood atop the hill gazing at the land knowing that he’d left an indelible mark on God’s people and on the future of the world. And he’d done it not by promoting himself or seeking to create a legacy. He’d done it by being fully and wholly committed to serving God and doing the Father’s will.
I think it’s remarkable how few people finish well. Even for spiritual leaders in the Bible the percentage of those who go out on a strong and faithful note is depressingly small. And yet, here’s Moses. And it seems to me like he had the toughest task of all. He had to lead a bunch of people through the wilderness until an entire generation of them died off. He had to call them and guide them and urge them toward a vision that he knew he’d never be a part of. He had to equip them to reach a dream that he was well aware he’d never get to live out. And they were rebellious and horrible to him along the way. But he finished strong. He crossed the line at a full sprint. How?
Because his heart was so invested in God that nothing else mattered. He was distinguished as the servant of the LORD because he chose to be. He wanted God more than he wanted the power and wealth that royalty in Egypt offered him. He refused to make his call or his life about himself. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “His reverence for the Lord’s name was deep, his devotion to the Lord’s cause was complete, an his confidence in the Lord’s Word was constant.” I so badly want that to be the description of my life after it’s done!
And he was invested in the next generation. Moses placed his hands and his authority on Joshua and taught Joshua to lead because the task and the story and the need for leadership were not going to die with him. Investing in young leaders is never easy, and it takes energy and time. But Moses was so closely connected to the heart of God that he could do nothing other than invest. The vision and the mission and the ministry and the voice of God could not die with him. What would it look life for us to embrace this? How would it change your legacy if you decided, today, that you would invest so powerfully in the next generation that you never lead alone or never do ministry of any kind alone but always have budding leaders or ministers around you and alongside you? What if you laid your hands, your prayers, and your wisdom on them the way Moses did for Joshua? I so badly want that to be the description of my life after it’s done!
And he was mentally and spiritually and physically healthy to the end. In the words of F.B. Meyer, “This was true of Moses as a man. He had seen plenty of sorrow and toil; but such was the simple power of his faith, in casting his burden on the Lord, that they had not worn him out in premature decay. There had been no undue strain on his energy. All that he wrought on earth was the outcome of the secret abiding of his soul in God. God was his home, his help, his stay. He was nothing: God was all. Therefore his youth was renewed.” I so badly want that to be the description of my life after it’s done!
And he knew the Lord face to face. He knew the heart of God because he sought the heart of God. That was his first priority and his last. He was imperfect and sinful, just like every human who ever lived, but the absolute guiding principle of his life was to line his heart up with God’s. He was determined to know God and to live it out. And that’s why he was an incredible servant. Because he knew God he realized that the first have to be last and the legacy he wanted to leave was not about greatness but about serving others. I so badly want that to be the description of my life after it’s done!
What about you? What do you want your eulogy to look like? What do you want to be the description of your life after it’s done? Allow me to humbly suggest that, though there are so many pursuits that can define our lives and take our time and many of them may even be good, if your eulogy looks anything like Moses’s then you have spent your life pursuing the great things of God that actually matter, that are worth giving your life to.
PRAY: Talk to God today about the direction your life is headed. Ask him to help you be self-aware of what the reality of your eulogy is going to be if you keep pursuing the same things with the same commitment level that you are pursuing now. Ask him to line your heart up with his and give you clarity of vision about who he is calling you to be and the kind of life he’s calling you to live. And ask him for the strength to continue on through all the difficulties of life and ultimately finish well – no matter how far away that finish may be for you.