Have you ever found yourself asking this question? Maybe asking God this question. Today, I was reading a Lenten devotional based on Exodus 3:1-22; 4:1-22. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. He explained to Moses that he would approach Pharaoh and demand that he let the Hebrew children go. Moses, being quite human, asked God “Who am I?”. God responded. We read about this back & forth exchange between God & Moses that, quite honestly, reminds me of a parent/child exchange. Moses keeps making excuses and God gives him a solution, until finally God gets exasperated at Moses when he says – “But God, I can’t do this. I can’t speak – I am slow to speak. I can’t do this.” (Rebecca Homan paraphrase). At this point, I picture God throwing his hands in the air and saying, “Just get your brother to speak for you when you go.” Sometimes parents get so frustrated after going back & forth with their child that they throw their hands up in the air and come up with an unarguable compromise like God did with Moses.
How often are we like Moses, though? Who are we that God should use us? I’ve often had these arguments with God when He calls me to do something. When calling me to ministry, rather reminded me of my call to ministry, I remember my arguments. I had been a music teacher at an elementary school in a district that cut their elementary music, art, gym, & library classes. I was looking for another teaching position. I kept applying & interviewing. Nothing was working out. I was frustrated. I took a long term sub job. During that time, the children’s ministry assistant at my church was retiring. The thought crossed my mind about the job, but the arguments started – “But I’m a music teacher.” “I need to teach – I just took out all these student loans to be a teacher.” You get the picture.
Then came December 2011. So much happened in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We found out my husband would be deploying to Afghanistan in 2012. Then, we had a small house fire (I had lit the taper candles in our advent wreath and forgot about them). It was a lot to deal with. Then January came, I was back to regular subbing. Several weeks in a row, the children’s ministry director and lay leader each approached me separately. They asked me to consider and pray about taking this position as the assistant. I said I would. Matt and I talked about it. It would be a steady income, as there aren’t guarantees that I would have a sub job everyday. I was still giving God excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. I can’t remember the exact details, but I do remember feeling a strong push into taking the job at my church. I felt peace.
After being in my position for a couple weeks, God brought a memory forward in my mind. The memory of when I accepted His call to serve Him in ministry. It was the summer of either 1999 or 2000. I was a teenager, either starting or just finished my senior year. We had missionaries visiting our church. I don’t remember anything other than an invitation about accepting God’s call to ministry. At that time, I had assumed it meant being a missionary to a foreign land. I remember the strong nudge to get out of the pew and go forward. That was the day I’d accepted God’s call to ministry. Then I forgot about it and I Let life happen, which led to all the arguing with God.
How often do we argue with God about our calling? How often do we argue with God that we aren’t adequate? I, so very often, feel so inadequate at what I do. God has brought me through and has always made up where I fall short. That’s what God was doing with Moses – except Moses still argued and that’s when God told him that Aaron would speak for him.
Sometimes we get hard-headed. It would be so much easier to just do what God tells us the first time (sound familiar, parents?). I challenge you to listen – really listen – to what God is calling you to do, and to step out in faith and not argue. It’s hard, but I promise that the many rewards will be more than worth it.