Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Chopping Block

The red desert sun glowed beyond the dusty eastern skyline early next morning. Dawn would break soon - the same as always, Joshua thought as he took his brisk morning walk through the camp. His world had changed last night in Moses‘ tent, but no one else seemed to mind.

The sound of roosters crowing, goats anxious to be milked, mothers tending to crying babies - he had heard it all before, every day for the last forty years.

But another familiar sound drew his attention. True to form as one of the few people awake who didn’t have to be, Caleb maintained his daily ritual of a grueling workout chopping firewood. It was a good excuse for Joshua to offload on an old friend.

CHOP! Caleb’s axe split the heavy log clean in two.
“Sounds like your head’s on the chopping block?” remarked Caleb.

Joshua bent over and picked up the split log that rolled towards his feet. “Not bad for an old woodcutter,” he laughed.

“Me? Old?” Caleb replied “You should talk, walking around the camp every morning like a headless chicken. People think your senile.”

“Keeps me young,” said Joshua.

Caleb placed a bigger log on the chopping block. “Let’s see how old you get leading this rabble.”

CHOP! The axe swung with a bit more gusto, splitting the log almost to its base. A little twist, and it surrendered.

“I didn’t ask for it,” replied Joshua, second guessing what Caleb might be thinking.

“Like you didn’t ask for this.” Caleb handed him the axe and placed another log on the chopping block. “Doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

“Alright, its been a few years. You're on,” replied Joshua.
He sized up the log, holding the axe steady with both hands extended, then raised it slowly above his head.

“How old are you?”

“Seventy nine,” replied Joshua.

CHOP! It split like a dream.

“You look it,” Caleb chuckled. “Just kidding - not bad for an old scribe. So what’s the problem?”

“What problem?” replied Joshua.

“I’m not talking about wood cutting,” said Caleb. “Why don’t you want to lead?”

“You know the deal,” replied Joshua, “If it were up to us, we’d already be living in Canaan. I’ve no trouble believing God’s promise.”

“So what’s your problem,” asked Caleb.

“I’m surprised you’re even asking that question,” replied Joshua. “We trusted our people once, and we were hung out to dry. Heck, they even threw stones at us. Whose to say that’s not going to happen again?

‘We’re not young anymore, and frankly, I don’t know if I can take it again.”

“I hear you,” said Caleb. “There’s something to be said for being young and ignorant. Probably wouldn’t have left Egypt if I knew we had to put up with this nonsense.”

No comments:

Post a Comment