I wonder if you know anyone called Gaddi? It's not a name commonly used anymore. I can remember all of the names on my school register and Gaddi wasn’t one of them. In my day there were lots of John's, Mark's, Joshua and even Pedro, but no Gaddi. Some names just seem to go out of fashion, but Gaddi has been out of fashion for a very long time.
So, who was Gaddi? We find him in the Old Testament in the days of Moses. He was a leader from the tribe of Manasseh. Manasseh was one of the tribes of Joseph that was granted a double blessing by God. They were a special tribe. He would have been an important man with great standing in Manasseh. The other leaders of the tribe would have looked to him, sought his council and as we know the people listened to him when he spoke.
According to Pott's book of Bible Proper Names Gaddi means "The troop of God" or "Fortunate”. This sounds like the kind of name that would inspire people with great exploits for God. If you were going into battle, would you want the "troop of God" to go with you? But there was a problem. Gaddi had a great name, was seen as a leader, but he was also full of fear. Fear got the better of him and because of this his name is not used often today. Gaddi was one of the spies sent into Canaan by Moses in Numbers 13:1-15. God laid out the requirements in order to be one of the spies, but as you can see, the past is not a guarantee of what will happen in the future. Gaddi was amongst those who saw the land and what was before him but decided not to push through into what God had promised the children of Israel.
Before reading this I wonder how many of the twelve spies you could have named? Like me there were probably two you can remember, Joshua and Caleb. Both Joshua and Caleb saw exactly the same things as Gaddi but chose to continue in what God said anyway. They were the only two men who went in and saw Canaan and actually got to go in and inhabit the land. One of my sons has Joshua for his second name, because we wanted that push-through spirit for our boy. I have a number of friends called Joshua and Caleb, because we like to have name sakes to inspire us. That might be why there aren't many Gaddi's around.
As you start on the School of Missional Life, you are faced with the same choices as the twelve spies going into Canaan. There is a beautiful Promised Land for the taking, but there will be times of challenge ahead. Times where you will need to decide “Am I going to stay on mission and push through fear?” or “Am I going to settle for what I’ve got?” My encouragement to you is to decide to be a Joshua and Caleb, rather than a Gaddi. Go for it. Get the most possible out of this year, even when it feels tough. You won't regret it. God has bigger dreams for you than you could ever imagine. You just need to trust him and keep pushing through over the next year.
And who knows, maybe in the future some child will be named after you because of what you have achieved for God.
Steve (Stephen means a victory crown).