Courage. Opportunities to be courageous are seldom planned, more often seized. Most of us wonder if we will respond with courage in a trying moment.
In 1975, the movie “Jaws” was released. Going to the beach after seeing that movie was never the same. As it became obvious that the film was a box office smash, one of the producers of the movie threw a lavish party at his palatial Hollywood home for everyone listed in the credits. After a sumptuous feast, the guests were ushered to the large pool at the rear of the mansion. With dramatic flair, the producer had rigged spotlights to flash over the surface of the water to reveal the presence of two enormous sharks swimming in the pool.
With more fanfare, the producer announced, “I’ll give the person brave enough to swim the length of the pool either one-fifth of the profits from the film or a check for $5 million right now.”
No sooner had he spoken those words than there was a splash at one end of the pool. Someone had responded to the challenge! Horrified and thrilled at the same time, the crowd worked itself into a frenzy as they watched the man flail at the water, trying to reach safety. Finally, the exhausted man was pulled from the water while the sharks lunged for him.
The producer rushed to his side, exclaiming that he had never seen such courage. “I’m stunned that you were willing to do that. I didn’t expect anyone to even try. Now, do you want the share of the profits or a check?”
The man, gulping for air, finally said, “I don’t care about the money. I just want to know who pushed me in.”
There may be times in our lives when we feel we have been pushed into a pool of sharks. Just trying to survive, to reach safety might seem almost impossible. Joshua might have felt that way when challenged to succeed Moses as leader of the wandering Israelites. He was given the huge task of leading his people into the Promised Land. God reminded Joshua of the call he had received and the resources available to him: “Be strong and take courage, do not fear or be dismayed; for the Lord will go before you, and His light will show the way, for the One who lives within you will be strong in you today.”
That’s no fish story. That is the promise of God who calls us to serve Him. The same God who called Joshua may not summon us to such a momentous task, but He will call us to live significant lives. Along the way, we will indeed need to be strong and take courage. He didn’t forget Joshua; He won’t forget you!