Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. Numbers 14:30-32
Once it becomes clear that God is calling your church to join Him in a particular adventure, it is always troubling when those few naysayers vote “no”. The struggle is only compounded by the realization that this is the very same group of people who voted “no” on the last big initiative as well…and the one before that, and the one before that. You know the ones I mean. They are the pot-stirrers in your church who have the spiritual gift of voting “no”.
They may be a minority, even a tiny minority in terms of numbers, but they can be vocal. They can also be influential. Like the 10 naysaying spies, these individuals can spread their negativity like a wildfire through the congregation. And before you know it, your people’s fears can seem insurmountable, faith is out the window, and a vision is well on the way to dying a slow and painful death.
You know how Caleb’s story ended. In what may be one of the greatest “I told you so” moments in all of God’s story, Caleb ends up receiving God’s reward because he was courageous enough to speak the truth and because he stayed with all those people who voted against him for another 40 long years. We don’t know much about Caleb during those 40 years. Perhaps he and Joshua had a weekly support group meeting with each other, helping them survive the pain of living with the consequences of other people’s lack of faith. Perhaps Caleb carried around some bitterness all those years. We just do not know.
But Caleb was faithful to God, faithful to the vision, and even faithful to the very people who had conspired against him. He found a way to stay faithful and loving, even in his pain. And in the end, his reward was waiting for him!
So how about it? Who do you need to love well today, even though they tried to squelch your dream? Who is deserving of your forgiveness and your continued love and support, even though they have opposed you and your vision?