I had a chat to one of my friends and fellow - elders last night. We were talking about the many good and glorious things that God was doing in the church, and a few fairly substantial challenges that we face too.
Musing on the passage where the 12 spies come back from the promised land with a giant bunch of grapes, and tel of a land flowing with milk and honey, but a land full of giants too, (Numbers 13) I commented that in our season, there were many grapes and a few giants. He responded with these words. "I guess what we need is grape-shaped lenses." Profound.
The story, very commonly told, but fairly uncommonly practiced, goes like this. All of the spies come back with the bunch of grapes so big that they have to be carried on a pole between two men. However, out of the 12 spies, only Joshua and Caleb focus on the grapes. The rest are fixated with the giants, and begin to spiral down into panic. All the people in turn begin to panic too. The spies brought a bad report, and it came with brutal honesty. It wasn't even how big the giants were. It was how small they felt.'We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we seemed the same to them."
It took Caleb, who's name means 'little dog', whose life displayed the courageous tenacity of a bull-terrier, to quiet the people. He shifted their focus from the giants, who were surely becoming monstrous in the people's imaginations, to the massive bunch of grapes right in front of them. He was giving them grape-shaped lenses.
Moses later described Caleb as a leader with an opposite spirit.
God help us to be Caleb - spirited as leaders. Not just leaders, but people who see the greatness of God, more than the greatness of giants. People with a humble,'can -do'spirit, because the'same Spirit which raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives in us.'
People with grape-shaped lenses.