By The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry
The tribal lands are distributed by the casting of lots. I guess that is where we get language about allotments, and ‘lots’ as designation for land. In the biblical mind, the casting of lots was not like a roll of the dice to us. The roll of the dice is a matter of random luck, though probability can be approximated. But few in Les Vegas seriously think of the roll of the dice as a providential act. Not so the biblical consciousness. These lots were offered in prayer. In the New Testament the Apostles selected Mathias to replace Judas as one of the twelve (Acts 1:26).
There is some ancient wisdom here. By casting lots the decision is taken out of the hands of humans, away from factions, interests and political control. Everyone has equal opportunity. The distribution was not swayed by interest groups, wealth or those with influence. In a sense, Joshua and the leaders did their part and left the final decision to God. The late Benjamin Elijah Mays served President of Morehouse College in Atlanta and was mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless graduates of Morehouse. He was fond of saying, “Faith is taking your best step and leaving the rest to God.” Interestingly enough that was the experience of the Samaritan Woman who met Jesus at the well in John 4. She gave her best, courageously facing the truth about her life and making a decision to trust, and Jesus did the rest.
The idea of casting lots is an ancient way of giving the ultimate decision to God. While I don’t think a literal rolling of the dice is a way to do that now, what are some ways we can do our best and then leave the rest to God?
Gracious God, please grant me the wisdom and strength to do that which accords with your will. And then give me the grace to move out of the way for you. Amen
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry’s is the XI Bishop of North Carolina.