What's that ya got there?
“The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.” Exodus 4:3 [NIV]
As Jesus followers we are all “on a mission from God.” Jesus himself spelled out this mission in very simple language -
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark 16:15 [NIV].
This is most often called “The great commission,” but unfortunately far too many church members seem to be content to let it be the great “omission”! But, of course, you can be sure they will have a bucketful of excuses to back up their position and justify their procrastination and/or inaction.
I’m pretty sure you will be familiar with the story of the burning bush and Moses’ excuses to God in Exodus chapters 3 and 4.
Moses had four excuses, God had four answers for him:
“Who Am I?” - God’s answer was that it really didn’t matter who Moses was. What was important was who God is, “I am”, and that He would be with him. “I won’t know what to say.” - God’s answer was “I will tell you.” “But they won’t listen to me.” - God’s answer was “I will work through you in power. They will see and believe.” “I can’t speak well (I don’t have the skills).” - God’s answer was to speak through Moses.
Perhaps you have excuses similar to those of Moses? Well I’m sure God has similar answers for you!
In Exodus 4, God asks Moses, “What do you have in your hand?” “Just a stick,” replies Moses, obviously meaning that it was “nothing” or not even worth mentioning.
But what is nothing to us can be something to God. Remember that that “nothing” stick was eventually used:
• To confront to soothsayers of Pharaoh’s court (7:12) • To turn the waters of Egypt into Blood (7:17-20) • To bring frogs on the land (8:5) • To cause lice throughout the whole land of Egypt. (8:16) • To bring thunder and hail throughout the land (9:23) • To bring an east wind that brought locusts (10:13) • To cause the waters of the Red Sea to stand up like a wall (14:16) • To cause the bottom of that sea to dry up so the Israelites could pass • To cause the waters of the Red sea to come back and drown Pharaoh’s armies • To bring water from the rock at Horeb (17:5) • To bring victory to his army (17:9)
This stick was nothing special of itself; it was just a stick. What was significant about this stick was that it was what Moses actually had in his hand. Note that God did not ask Moses what he didn’t have. As far as I can tell, God never directs our attention to what we don’t have, or our inadequacies, but to what we do have, even though it may seem exceedingly small or ordinary or insignificant. It appears that making it available was the key to making it powerful. For Moses it was just a stick, but used by God it was literally an indescribably awesome piece of technology.
I think we need to invite God a lot more to get into our “sticks”:
God in our songs, God in our preaching, God in our marriage, God in our business, God in our gift, God in our talent.
When God gets in a thing it is not the same thing any more - now it’s an instrument of God that He can use to express his power and glory.
Perhaps you hear God asking you, “What’ya got in your hand?” Now ask yourself, “Am I willing to let God touch it?" How can it be used in your daily witness to your faith in the gospel? And, remember what God was able to do with “just a stick"!
So - What’s in your hand? Let’s quit with the excuses already! … And don’t get me started on five buns and two sardines!