People Who Say Such Things: Don’t Let Their Insufficiency Get in the Way of God’s Calling

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March 17, 2020

Exodus 3:10-17 (NIV)

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.”

CONSIDER THIS

O.K., so I’ve prayed about whether to press on in our pilgrimage or write in a more focused way into the Corona Virus moment. So if it’s ok with you, and given that every voice and their mother are talking about the virus, I’d like to stay the course. There’s something to be said for Scriptures that seem to speak into the moment, and yet there may be something more to be said about just letting the Scriptures speak, regardless of the moment. And Happy St. Patrick’s Day by the way!

Meanwhile back at the unburning bush, as the details unfold, Moses begins to see more reasons for why this might not be a good idea. 

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.”

What gave Moses the idea that God needed a silver tongued preacher? Why is it that we tend to make the calling of God about our own qualifications or lack thereof. Do we think God is somehow not aware of our foibles, weaknesses and incompetencies? What if, . . . just what if, God calls us into a particular assignment precisely because of our foibles, weaknesses and incompetencies. What if God is looking for people who have been broken enough by life and mended enough by mercy they know they are hopeless without God; that they can do nothing apart from Jesus? Isn’t this the whole point of 2 Corinthians 4:7? 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 

Does Moses really think the secret sauce of his success in delivering the Israelites from the most powerful person on the planet is his eloquence of speech? Seems like Paul had something to say about eloquence now that I think about it.

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. 

God does not need our talent, skills or abilities to accomplish his will in the world. He can use them, but he doesn’t need them. The only thing God needs from us is our availability, faithfulness and teachability. God is so good, even in the face of our worst moments. Look how he responds to Moses.

12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Indulge my translation in the form of an overused cliche: “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” Still, after all God’s patient coaxing, Moses (in what feels like his best British accent) says its a hard pass.

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

But, don’t we see ourselves in good ole Moe? When it comes to the weighty matter of God’s calling on our lives (and he calls us all) our insufficiency is a given. Now hear this: God’s calling is about God’s sufficiency, not our insufficiency. In good Maxie Dunnam form, let me say that again. God’s calling is about God’s sufficiency, not our insufficiency. O.K., once again and this time with feeling; and how about you say it with me: God’s calling is about God’s sufficiency, not our insufficiency. 

People who say such things. . . 

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. Forgive me for making your calling about myself; for thinking you somehow need my gifts to accomplish your will or worse, for thinking my lack of giftedness could somehow impede your work. Give me the grace to understand when you call me you know what you are doing. Train my spirit to be available, faithful and teachable. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Why do you tend to think you are not qualified enough or gifted enough or competent enough to respond to an invitation, assignment or calling from God?  

P.S.

For those of you who are on FaceBook, we are launching a little Discipleship Experiment you may be interested in. Perfect for quarantine. There’s a small buy-in. Check it out here. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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