You know the story. But check out this powerful truth contained in what God said to Caleb when He pronounced His judgment on the ten unfaithful men.
God pronounces judgment on the ten spies, then says this . . .
“But my servant Caleb . . .”
I love this contrast. “In spite of all that I had done for you – the 12 plagues, parting the Red Sea, etc.- you still doubt me. But not Caleb!”
God singles out and praises Caleb and Joshua. Because these guys had honored God, he honored them. He saw their faithfulness in the face of a tidal wave of opposition and rewarded them.
As we ask ourselves, “What can we learn from Caleb’s example,” don’t miss this: God said that Caleb “had a different spirit and has followed me fully.”
Let me ask you, as you do ministry in your cultural context, how is your spirit? Do you follow God fully? Are you willing to stand boldly with the Lord against the culture around you (even if that stand has to be made within your church? Or do you go along to get along?
Here are three things we can learn from Caleb when it comes to doing youth ministry:
Caleb acted out of his faith in God, not out of his own understanding.
All 12 of the spies said that the land God was leading them to was amazing. But the ten unfaithful spies reported that the people inhabiting the land were too powerful for the Israelites to defeat. This was probably a logical assessment based on what they saw with their eyes. But Caleb saw with his faith. He believed God could and would overcome any obstacle because God had PROMISED that he would.
When you're faced with youth ministry challenges, it's vital that you rely upon God and His faithfulness and not always on your assessment of the problem. Take God at His Word. He doesn't make promises He doesn't keep.
Caleb wasn’t afraid of making the unpopular decision.
What we don’t read in this passage but that is recorded elsewhere is that the people tried to kill them when Joshua and Caleb stated their faith that God would help them take the Promised Land. That’s a pretty rough response to simple professing faith in the God who had already delivered the people from so much.
We often encounter people as we lead who oppose our faith-stands. Maybe this is from outside of your ministry. And maybe it’s from within. It’s never the wrong decision to boldly stand on God’s truth. Opposition may come. But God honors those who “follow Him fully.”
The tough work of standing strong doesn’t go unnoticed by God.
God saw Joshua and Caleb. Their faithfulness was noticed and rewarded. When we take a stand and act in faith, it is God-honoring. And God honors our faithfulness.
Ministry has its challenges. If you’ve been doing youth ministry for more than about a week, you know this to be true. God’s desire for us is to face these challenges with a “different spirit,” a spirit that knows our deliverance comes from God and trusts Him to work according to His Word.
Andy Blanks discusses these truths in our video blog and podcast below!