When it comes to discipleship, Moses and Joshua formed one of the most iconic duos in the Bible. From the time he was a youth Moses poured into Joshua, first as an assistant, then as a warrior and finally as the future leader of Israel who was chosen by God. Moses understood discipleship. He learned from his father-in-law and payed forward everything he learned. In turn, Joshua led Israel well. He took the nation across the Jordan river and established them in the Promised Land. When he died he was given one of the most impressive epitaphs in scripture.
“After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.” (Joshua 24:29-31)
Unfortunately, the name of the game is discipleship, and that’s where Joshua failed. At the end of his life he rather famously charged the nation to follow God, and they responded that they would and everything went well for a little while. But discipleship isn’t a large group activity. Moses led Israel, but he only discipled Joshua. Joshua in turn led Israel, and led well, but who did he disciple? For all the good that he did as a leader, his legacy didn’t last long.
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.” (Judges 2:10-11)
After Joshua, Israel quickly descended into chaos and sin. What might have happened if Joshua had picked out someone (or maybe a handful of someones) to pour himself deeply into, teaching them to lead the way he had been taught himself? His reign as the leader of Israel was amazing, good enough to warrant his own book in the Bible! But because he didn’t pay forward the lessons he was given at the feet of Moses, his legacy was limited and an entire nation suffered for hundreds of years.
What will your legacy look like? Who is pouring into you? Who are you learning from? The name of the game is discipleship. Be one. Make one. Lead like Joshua, but disciple like Moses.
- Discipleship isn’t optional. Be one. Make one. (Matthew 28:19, 2 Timothy 2:2)
- Discipleship always works better when it’s intentional.
- Lesson one of discipleship is pay it forward.
- The price of not making disciples is multi-generational.