I have a pastoral pet peeve. Can I share it with you? I get annoyed when people give up on church too quickly. I could tell you a dozen stories of people whose spiritual lives were being changed at the church . . . until someone from church failed them. Then they lost their fire. They drifted. They left.
Apparently, I need to do a better job communicating what the church is—a big gathering of failures. A community of people who love Jesus, not because he’s nice but because they need him. Maybe being clearer about our own sinfulness will keep people around long enough to hear more about Jesus.
That’s exactly what Joshua did. When the people of Israel got ready to enter the Promised Land, they swore, “Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you” (Joshua 1:17). I imagine Joshua chuckled at that line because he was there when the Israelites shook their fists at Moses and picked up rocks to stone him. Exodus and Numbers should be called the Book of Grumbling, Parts 1 & 2.
But when the people failed him, Joshua did not bail on his calling. He stuck around. He learned perseverance. Perhaps he knew his own failures well enough to expect a few of theirs too.
I guarantee someone will fail you this week. Your secret shared. Their promise broken. His vow unkept. An unneighborly neighbor. When that happens, take a deep breath, remember your own failures, and ask God to help you. Because he is the One who never fails. Ever.