"Joshua ... had been Moses' aid since youth."
Long before Joshua had a book named after him, he was Moses' side-kick. People didn't know him as just Joshua. He was Joshua, Moses' aid. His identity was wrapped up in the more popular Moses. He must have felt like many other side-kicks, somewhat like an appendage of the more popular hero. No one thinks of just Robin, it's always Batman and Robin.
Have you ever felt like that?
Are you known as the "wife of", "friend of", "employee of", "child of"... so and so?
Do you feel like your identity is some how an extension of someone else?
A recent hobby of mine is taking pictures of people wearing superhero themed clothes. What's interesting to me is that no one wears side-kick apparel. You will see Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. But no one is wearing Robin or Krypto the dog. Side-kicks don’t seem to get the same level of recognition and respect. Who wants to be Bucky Barnes when you can be Captain America?
One of my kids' favorite movies growing up was titled Sky High. It was about a high school for potential superheroes. On the first day of school, the students were divided into heroes and side-kicks. The heroes were popular and the side-kicks were the outcasts. No one wanted to be the side-kick.
As a kid, we used to play a game called "Follow the Leader." The rules were simple. One kid got to be the leader and everyone else had to follow whatever they did.
Stand on one foot.
Spin in a circle.
Jump like a frog.
No one fought over who got to be the follower. Everyone wanted to be the leader.
Joshua ended up being a great leader but he spent most of his life as Moses' side kick. He followed Moses' lead. He lived in Moses' shadow. And he didn’t mind it at all. What Joshua learned and is easy to forget is that
Leading Starts with Serving
The best leaders have learned to follow first. Dwight L. Moody once said,
"There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things."
It's not just "heroes" who save the day. In fact the comic book world creates a false dichotomy. There's heroes, villains, side-kicks and the people who need to be rescued. In the real world, we are all needed to fulfill the part God designed us for. Each one of us get to be heroes in the story God has written.
Don't let your position limit your mission.
Don't say I'm just a secretary
I'm just a barista
I'm just a janitor
I’m just a side kick
You are so much more than your job.
A hero is first who you are, then what you do.
That’s true whether you're known as Joshua, the aid of a spiritual giant like Moses or Joshua, leader of God's people.