What Is Your Allotment?

Joshua 19:1-51
1The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of the people of Simeon, according to their clans, and their inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the people of Judah. 2And they had for their inheritance Beersheba, Sheba, Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen—thirteen cities with their villages; 7Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan—four cities with their villages, 8together with all the villages around these cities as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Simeon according to their clans. 9The inheritance of the people of Simeon formed part of the territory of the people of Judah. Because the portion of the people of Judah was too large for them, the people of Simeon obtained an inheritance in the midst of their inheritance. 10The third lot came up for the people of Zebulun, according to their clans. And the territory of their inheritance reached as far as Sarid. 11Then their boundary goes up westward and on to Mareal and touches Dabbesheth, then the brook that is east of Jokneam. 12From Sarid it goes in the other direction eastward toward the sunrise to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor. From there it goes to Daberath, then up to Japhia. 13From there it passes along on the east toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and going on to Rimmon it bends toward Neah, 14then on the north the boundary turns about to Hannathon, and it ends at the Valley of Iphtahel; 15and Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem—twelve cities with their villages. 16This is the inheritance of the people of Zebulun, according to their clans—these cities with their villages. 17The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the people of Issachar, according to their clans. 18Their territory included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, Beth-pazzez. 22The boundary also touches Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh, and its boundary ends at the Jordan—sixteen cities with their villages. 23This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Issachar, according to their clans—the cities with their villages. 24The fifth lot came out for the tribe of the people of Asher according to their clans. 25Their territory included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal. On the west it touches Carmel and Shihor-libnath, 27then it turns eastward, it goes to Beth-dagon, and touches Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtahel northward to Beth-emek and Neiel. Then it continues in the north to Cabul, 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, as far as Sidon the Great. 29Then the boundary turns to Ramah, reaching to the fortified city of Tyre. Then the boundary turns to Hosah, and it ends at the sea; Mahalab, Achzib, 30Ummah, Aphek and Rehob—twenty-two cities with their villages. 31This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Asher according to their clans—these cities with their villages. 32The sixth lot came out for the people of Naphtali, for the people of Naphtali, according to their clans. 33And their boundary ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and it ended at the Jordan. 34Then the boundary turns westward to Aznoth-tabor and goes from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun at the south and Asher on the west and Judah on the east at the Jordan. 35The fortified cities are Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37 Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor, 38Yiron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh—nineteen cities with their villages. 39This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Naphtali according to their clans—the cities with their villages. 40The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the people of Dan, according to their clans. 41And the territory of its inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46and Me-jarkon and Rakkon with the territory over against Joppa. 47When the territory of the people of Dan was lost to them, the people of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and striking it with the sword they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor. 48This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Dan, according to their clans—these cities with their villages.49When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. 50By command of the Lord they gave him the city that he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it. 51These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.

If you’ve plowed through this passage with thoughts of God’s greatness and love for us, you’re a true lover of God. I confess to be greatly challenged to read this and feel inspired. But my mind did focus the word “allotment” as I thought about these people and their gift from the Lord of The Promised Land. Most of us are probably not going to inherit a great piece of land that we will call home. Maybe if you’re living in farm country, that will indeed be your future. But for most of us, we must look at this a little differently.

We have all been given an allotment from the Lord which we are called upon to nurture and use to the benefit of those around us. Maybe you have a great gift for organization and the world can certainly use that. Perhaps you are a gifted teacher and it is your joy to share information and knowledge with your community. The nature of your allotment is personal and useful. This morning I heard a story about a woman who is a dog-walker. She absolutely loves the simplicity of her life, her animals, her peaceful existence. There are many who would look at her and say that she is wasting her life. But is she? Is her contentment okay? I would say “yes, it is.” Her allotment is simplicity and peace. Maybe that’s enviable.

I suppose we first must identity what our allotment might be. For the Hebrews, theirs was land – a place to make a home and build a nation. For many, discovering that allotment can be difficult, for we are quickly caught up in the trapping of what the world calls success. No where in the Gospel do I see Jesus defining success for us, other than the commission to be a people who live in such a way as to point to His grace and salvation. Paul declares that contentment with who we are and the circumstances in which we find ourselves is a gift to be pursued. Our allotment, ultimately, is eternity in the presence of Almighty God, won for us through the blood of Jesus Christ. What greater gift could we receive. With that future in mind, we are free to embrace what we have been given here and now, sharing it as pleases the Lord.