When we speak of motivation, we are referring to the deep-seated reasons for why we believe or do things. This is also true of reporting. When we report, we do so for a reason or for reasons. Our reasons could simply be an attempt to convince a committee to continue funding. Or we could report in a way that will convince people to discontinue a program or change leadership personnel. If selected information is reported or emphasized, then perhaps decisions made on the evaluation of such reporting may not be the best. Hence, our reporting needs to be honest and fair.
Read Numbers 13:17–33. All twelve spies saw the same things; what caused only two of the twelve to respond as they did? What lesson should we take from this incident for ourselves, today?
God had promised that the children of Israel could certainly take the land. Joshua and Caleb gave a good report of the land and suggested that they go at once to posses it (vs. 30). Others who were with them when they spied out the land gave a bad report, emphasizing the obstacles to possessing it and suggesting that they return to Egypt.
As we formulate reports, we must do so with thought to the revealed will of God and in the light of His blessings. We will not just report on how well we are doing but how well we are doing the will of God (see Matt. 7:21). There is always the potential to get caught up in the latest models of evangelistic ministry and measure our successes by how well we are implementing the principles in comparison with other churches. As we report on our apparent successes, we may be more interested in appearing successful than in seeking God’s will for our church and pursuing that by His grace.
This is a challenge to our churches today as we seem to be bombarded by never-ending “better” ways of outreach. In the report of the spies, Joshua and Caleb surely also saw the obstacles to taking the land, but they also knew God’s will. Therefore, an important part of their report assured the people that possessing the land was surely possible. On the other hand, those spies whose thinking did not include reflections on God’s will brought back a completely negative report calculated to convince the people that returning to Egypt was a better option.
How do we strike the balance between living by faith, claiming God’s promises, and acting on them—as opposed to living by presumption and doing things that might not be the wisest but utilizing dubious claims of God’s “leading” in order to justify them? How can we do the first and avoid the latter?