I learn a lot by listening. It’s not my favorite activity, but pretty close to the top of the list. One of the things I’ve learned from listening to young people is that they all want to do something great with their lives. Sadly, I don’t always hear the same enthusiasm from adults. I think that as we age, our zeal is dimmed by doubt that God could really use us: human, imperfect, frail man.
The story of Moses fascinates me. When he was an infant, his mother floated him down a river in a basket to save his life. He was raised in a palace, ran for his life after he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, and spent 40 years tending sheep. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush and told Moses that he was to deliver the people from slavery in Egypt.
Moses immediately began to doubt his ability. God asked Moses, “What’s in your hand?”
“A shepherd’s staff,” said Moses. The staff was the representation of what he had done for the past 40 years. It was the symbol of his season spent silently and in solitude on the back side of the desert, taking care of sheep.
“Throw it down on the ground,” commanded the Lord. Moses obeyed. The power of God turned it into a snake. Moses was so terrified that he ran away. Surely Moses had seen a snake before. Moses was trying to flee the call and the power of God; the power that brings life to dead sticks and spent seasons.
“Grab it by its tail,” said God. Wow! That seems like the worst place to grab a snake. It could turn around and bite you. But Moses obeyed and the snake became a shepherd’s staff again.
Are you doubting the call of God on your life? Are you wondering how in the world you will accomplish what you believe He’s called you to do? I think God will start by using what's in your hand. He will use the gifts He’s given you and your past experiences to bring about His future plans.
Moses didn’t leave his staff behind when he went to rescue the Hebrew children from Egypt. He took it before the Pharaoh and displayed God’s power there. He used it to part the waters of the Red Sea and later to strike the rock so that water would come forth.
Take your experiences and talents into the next phase of your call.
Move forward. Don’t look back. Use what’s in your hand.