A life well lived
So there we are.
We’ve arrived at the last chapter of the Book of Joshua.
Joshua has been a man of courage, a man who could work through his fears and insecurities, a man who dared.
That’s why I’m celebrating the end of this month with a challenge – running 25 laps to and from the Stroke Association office to my store on Saturday (about 18 miles) – and a DARE party – dare to wear purple, dare to share purple food and drink, dare to care about the Stroke Association and generally a few more dares thrown in! I can’t wait!
So this is how the Book ends –
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.
And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.
And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim. Joshua 24:29-33
Lots of loose ends are tied up. Joseph. Eleazar son of Aaron. And of course Joshua.
It had been a good period for Israel – 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 had proved himself a good leader.
He was now leaving God’s people in the hands of the elders who had also experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
And can this be the experience of others or do we have to learn from personal experience?
Here are some quotes to ponder –
Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.
John Stuart Mill
The only source of knowledge is experience.
You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
Experience is one of the better things we gain as we grow older. Of course, all those bright young things with so much vision and idealism (isn’t that how my dad used to describe me and Andy?) will not be interested in learning from our experiences, just as we weren’t at their age.
Learning to take time and listen to the experiences of others is a fascinating and invaluable exercise. I am involved in a project at work where stories have been gathered from older local people and turned into an arts exhibition that will be displayed in our store. These older people, who come to a lunch club every day and are judged by the world on who they seem to be now, have a wealth and breadth of experience that blows your mind. These people have lived rich, colourful, daring lives and I am really excited about displaying this take on local history in our store from Friday 6th March. I’m hoping it will inspire some of our regular customers to talk to me about their lives and experiences. I’m looking forward to giving them a voice and hopefully showing them (even just for a moment) that their experiences count for something.
What do we do with our experiences? Do we allow them to make us fearful, to make us smaller people, to limit what we are prepared to have a go at? Or do we allow them to give us confidence, to make us reach for the stars, to make us grow and develop and flourish?
Thank you, Joshua, for your inspiration this month.
We leave you, celebrating a life well lived.
We remember you as a man of courage who was not afraid to take risks.
A man who trusted in the mighty power of his God and used this trust as the foundation for his obedience.
I hope that I can be like you.