Biting off more that you can chew—now there’s a good American idiom! And it pretty well describes one of my ongoing challenges, physically, professionally, relationally. If enough is good, more is better, and saving for a rainy day (another fine old saying from who knows when) can turn into moth-eaten clothing or mouse-eaten…well, mice eat all kinds of disgusting things.
Not that I’m into wanton spending either. I have to be careful, especially with time commitments; Bob says I tend to “give away the store”. It’s also sometimes difficult for me to share responsibilities, you know, just easier to get it done myself.
However, there is an important fulcrum that I miss when I start playing the psychological game commonly known as “Turf Wars”. This easily could have happened here as Joshua was slicing up the hard-fought for land of the Israelites:
“This was the homeland allocated to the clans of the tribe of Simeon. Their allocation of land came from part of what had been given to Judah because Judah’s territory was too large for them. So the tribe of Simeon received an allocation within the territory of Judah.”
Boundaries are good. Actually, good is too generic a term; boundaries are crucial, without which there is no clear definition, identification, or even personality. In personal terms, when I set my own (emotional, mental, physical, etc.) boundaries, I become increasingly in control—and therefore accountable—for what comes in and out of my personhood. That sounds nice and psychological, because it is. I didn’t come up with it; Dr. Henry Cloud did in his book about (guess what) boundaries.
What I see in Old Testament land distribution by Joshua applies also today:
Judah’s plot was too big, meaning they couldn’t manage it all, which in turn meant large portions would be overrun by wild animals and unwanted non-Israelites again. This would cause (a) the need for additional clean out, (with potential loss of life, and certainly loss of time—horribly inefficient from a managerial standpoint), and/or (b) the re-infiltration of pagan religious thought, which could trigger a gross backsliding of the Judean tribe, (again, not a pretty picture, based on what did eventually happen to the whole of the nation.)
So God had a good idea, as is His habit. And Joshua listened, and obeyed.
Unfortunately, what happens oftentimes today, a large load is given to a particular saint, or group of saints, maybe one particular church. God may bless him/her/them with a favor or outpouring or mission field, whatever. Open doors, open hearts, (open pockets). YEA! Go for it!
THEN, once it gets overwhelming, rather than ask for help or receive the help that God graciously sends, (and He can creatively send it in oh-so-many ways), we choose to see that as an intrusion into “my/our” territory.
We allow our “turf wars” to severely limit the progress of God’s kingdom on earth, AND free up unused territory otherwise slotted for His Kingdom for another, complete with a wild beast that likes to “kill, steal, and destroy.”
All because we were too proud and short-sighted to allow the territory to be fully occupied by God’s people…
…even if they weren’t in my immediate “tribe”.
Joshua 19:8-9 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.