I have been reflecting recently on the conversation that Moses had with God at the burning bush. Like us, Moses felt completely inadequate to do what God was calling him to do. And of course he had numerous objections to his ability to do what God was asking him to do.
One of the most interesting parts of the conversation takes place in Chapter four. “Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘the Lord did not appear to you?’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?‘ ‘A staff’ he replied. The Lord said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake and he ran from it…..”
Now there was nothing significant about a staff, every shepherd had one. But God took what was in Moses hand, an ordinary staff and used it for his purposes. I am convinced that God never calls us to do something for Him without giving us what we need to do it and it is often right there – in our hand.
Here is a great example from the missions world. A few years ago when there was political instability in Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea refugees began pouring into Liberia. Titus Davis, a movement leader in Liberia was moved in his heart to minister to the refugees since he and so many Liberians had lived as refugees during their civil war. Rather than writing to others for money, he contacted churches in Monrovia and asked them to help. They collected some money and purchased bags of rice and bundles of used, clothing, put it all in a taxi and headed to the refugee camps by the border.
He and another couple of leaders began sharing the food with pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as giving the clothes to those in need. He had been trained in the chronological storytelling evangelism strategy and while they were ministering to the physical needs of people he was telling them stories of God’s redemptive plan.
These refugees were almost 100% Islamic, but they were moved in powerful ways by the compassion of Christ and the story of redemption demonstrated by Titus and his friends. People followed him home every evening wanting to know more about Jesus. People came to Christ and churches were planted.
Some of these folks wanted to know how they could share this with their people when they returned home so Titus began training them in the story telling evangelism strategy (orality) and eventually did multiplication church planting training with them. When the civil unrest ended and people returned home to both countries, church planting followed because one leader took what he had in his hand and trusted God to use it.
What is in your hand that God can and wants to use?
T.J. Addington is a Senior Vice President with the EFCA and the leader of ReachGlobal, the international mission of the EFCA. He has served as a pastor, consultant and denominational leader.
Over the past twenty five years, T.J. has consulted with numerous churches and Christian non-profit organizations in the areas of healthy leaders, intentional leadership, governance systems and dealing with issues of organizational health and strategy. He resides with his wife of 36 years, Mary Ann, in Oakdale, MN and is the father of two sons and has two grandsons.
He is the author of five books: High Impact Church Boards;Leading From The Sandbox; Live Like You Mean It; When Life Comes Undone, and Deep Influence which is available for pre-publication orders. In his spare time T.J. is an avid fly fisherman.
He can be reached at email@example.com