Today I found myself reading the last bit of Pastor Brian’s new book ‘Live, Love, Lead’. With every chapter I’ve shed a tear as God reveals something new to me and encourages me in my journey of faith with Him. Today was no exception. It started when I was finishing up the chapter ‘Hand and Heart’. Here’s what I read that really struck a chord in me.
“There are numerous ways to transform the staff in your hand into a lightning rod for God’s power and purpose…’he who is faithful in the little will be faithful with much’…if you’re not willing to start small and grow from what you’ve been given, then you’ll likely remain frustrated. You can’t expect to be at the top of your game and get the outcomes you long for if you don’t put in the work.”
For context of the chapter, it’s summed up in the one statement Pastor Brian says that I’ve always loved but didn’t get a revelation of until today:
Use what’s in your hand to fulfill what’s in your heart.
I’ve been asking questions, what’s my passion? How can I use my talents and gifts for God in the grand scheme of life?
And boy, after reading the book and then reading Exodus 3-4, I had a revelation. (please read Exodus 3-4 below, and Pastor Brian’s book of course)
Moses and the Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressingthem. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
Signs for Moses
4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lordsaid to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[e]—it had become as white as snow.
7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
I didn’t realize that since being in college here in Australia that I’ve been just like Moses. #what
Especially in the area of photography. Photography has been a huge passion of mine since I picked up a point and shoot at 13. I was faithful with the gift consistently, but since being in college, (besides serving on photography for conferences here and some other side things) honestly, I’ve been like Moses. I’ve made excuses as to why this won’t work, or I’m not good enough or I dont have the time or resources. I always said, “Oh one day when I get a good lens I’ll be able to take even more amazing photos.” And I’ve allowed these excuses to stop me from using my gift in a way that honors God. And as I realized this God said to me as He did to Moses, WHATS IN YOUR HAND, MARIA?
In high school my limitations never stopped me. I was faithful with the gifts God gave me and He always used them for His glory. He’s taking me back again, calling me to use the gift He gave me of photography and NO MORE EXCUSES!
So here are just my thoughts throughout this passage of Exodus 3-4 : ) I won’t post the whole verses since you just read them above…
‘Moses was tending the flock’
Moses was doing his Everyday. What came naturally to him and seemed ordinary.
‘There the angel of the Lord came to him’
IN his ordinary and seemingly mundane routine, GOD CAME. He comes not always in our big moments where we obviously expect Him, but in our moments of our normals.
‘Moses went to see the bush’
When you notice something out of your ordinary, something unexplainable, it may be the answer to your prayer, your heart’s desire. It just may come to you in a different way than you expected. Watch for Him to show up in your every day.
‘I’ve heard the cry of My people’s suffering…I’ve come to rescue them’
His purposes and the gifts He’s given you and the call on your life is ALWAYS bigger than you and it ISN’T about just you.
vs 10 ‘Go’ <- Go #1
So God says Go to us the first time and what do we do like Moses did? We ask questions. And they are usually rooted in IDENTITY. We ask, as Moses did, ‘WHO AM I?’ We start questioning who we are, what we do, and we get concerned about OUR gift. We get self-concious, to which God says…
‘I will be with you’
It’s not about you, friend! The Holy Spirit is IN you and WITH you. Stop worrying about what people will think or how they’ll react or judge or whatever. Obey and honor God… And our question of identity – it matters. Big time. But we’ll only truly find it in Him alone. In verse 14 he says
‘I AM WHO I AM’
‘Go’ <- Go #2
Here when God tells Moses the second time to go, He even spills out more details than Moses could ever need- a full on agenda of what’s gonna go down, but STILL Moses questions with
When we ask What if, this is where God directs Moses’ and our attention away from our fear of the future to what we (and Moses) can see right in front of us!!!
‘What is in your hand?’
We just see our gift as a talent sometimes or a natural ability or even a hobby or something that is normal to us. We may not even recognize it as a gift because it’s who we are and how we’re wired. Moses just saw a staff. What do you see?
‘Throw it on the ground’
Lay your gift and your normal and your ordinary at JESUS’ feet to see GOD do what only He can do through a SURRENDERED servant. When we hold onto our staff, our gift, we make it about us. But if we throw it down on the ground, it signifies that it’s from God, he gave it and he can take it away. And He can take what seems natural and make it supernatural – something that when people see it – the gift in action they’ll see JESUS. But if we don’t surrender it and throw it on the ground, if we hold onto our gifts for our own purposes, we will only be pointing to ourselves.
‘it became a snake and he ran from it’
Sometimes, even after we’ve surrendered our dreams and our gifts to God, all of a sudden it starts to look much bigger than us. It somehow changes from ‘this is what I always do – this is my gift – this is my hobby – this is normal’ to OH MY GOSH I CANNOT DO THIS GOD! and we run from it.
Don’t run from what God calls you into. It may seem big but God is able and He will grace you for it.
‘Go’ Go #3
As you saw in the above passage what happened after God said Go a third time, we should learn from Moses. When God says go, when God calls YOU, when God asks for YOUR GIFT, trust Him, obey Him, and go wherever He says.
Because ultimately, He wants to use you to bring people freedom from prisons and freedom from captivity. But it starts with your decisions to be faithful and obedient with whatever is in your hand today (as small as it may seem) and trust God with the rest.