Tag Archives: Professional

Divine Call, Human Reluctance

But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Exodus 4:10 (NRSVCE)

The first time I publicly spoke about my faith I was just shy of 15 years old and had been a follower of Jesus for two months. I was young, uneducated, inexperienced, and naive. It was a church “youth” service and I was one of three young people who each had ten minutes to share. Within months I was unexpectedly given more opportunities to speak, which turned into even more regular opportunities. Again, this was not something I expected at all.

I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I still do. I also learned a lot of valuable lessons in the process.

In the past few years, I’ve volunteered to lead and mentor others who give messages among our local gathering of Jesus’ followers. The vast majority of individuals express fear when they start, which is natural given the fact that public speaking is one of the most common fears in all of humanity. There’s the fear of not knowing enough, saying something stupid, looking stupid, people pushing back, offending others, et cetera, and et cetera. It is not hard for people to find reasons to decline the opportunity.

I have always loved the story in today’s chapter. Moses, on the lam and living as a shepherd in the land of Midian, is confronted by God and called to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrew people out of slavery. As I have already noted in the previous chapters, Moses “has ‘hero’ written all over him.” In today’s chapter, we find our hero receiving a clear, miraculous “call” from God to lead a historic and heroic endeavor.

Moses doesn’t want to do it.

“What if my people don’t believe that you called me to this? What if I get pushback?”

“I’m not a great public speaker. I struggle enough in regular conversation. Speaking in front of a group of people would be a disaster!”

“Seriously. PLEASE call somebody else.”

It is such a human moment. Fear, reluctance, pessimism, and defensiveness are common human responses to the call. Moses is like all of us.

Along my journey, I’ve had three interrelated observations:

First, God’s Message makes it clear that every follower of Jesus who “answers the knock and invites Him in” is given a spiritual “gift” by the indwelling Holy Spirit with which they are to serve the larger “body” of believers and carry out Jesus stated mission to love everyone into God’s Kingdom. This is true of every believer regardless of age, gender, race, education level, social status, economic status, or experience. Peter called every believer a member of a “royal priesthood.”

Second, most human beings are, like Moses, reluctant to embrace the notion that they have any gift, talent, or ability. They are quick to decline any opportunity to take responsibility for serving the larger “body” or accepting the responsibility of loving others like Jesus in their circles of influence.

Third, for 1700 years the institutional church has largely entrenched the thinking that serving the larger body is almost exclusively a professional career for a select group of educated individuals who have successfully navigated the prescribed institutional education and bureaucratic hoops. Those who have not done so (all the rest of us) are, therefore, largely off-the-hook other than regular attendance and financial giving necessary to provide for the livelihood of the aforementioned ministry professionals.

That third observation is bovine fecal matter. And, I believe that it contributes to the impotence and decline of the Jesus Movement being witnessed in current society.

In the quiet this morning, I find myself appreciating Moses the reluctant hero. I also find myself appreciating the fact that God both made allowances for Moses to depend on the giftedness of his brother-in-law, Aaron, to accomplish the task. That’s the very picture of the “body of Christ” the Jesus Movement adopted. Everyone has their “gift” and contributes to the whole of the mission. Moses was a gifted leader. Aaron was a decent public speaker. They depended on one another.

I can always find an excuse to not serve. There’s always something that I can conjure up as an excuse that I am “lacking” (education, knowledge, experience, calling, opportunity, training, etc.). The truth is that all God requires is simple trust and obedience. Which brings to mind a song from many years ago…

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Want to Read More?

Simply click on the image above or click here to be taken to a page with a simple photo index to all posts from this series on Exodus.

About This Post

These chapter-a-day posts began in 2006. It’s a very simple concept. I endeavor each weekday to read one chapter from the Bible. I then blog about my thoughts, insights, and feelings about the content of that chapter. Everyone is welcome to share this post, like this post, or add your own thoughts in a comment. Thank you to those who have become faithful, regular or occasional readers along the journey along with your encouragement.

In 2019 I began creating posts for each book, with an indexed list of all the chapters for that book. You can find the indexed list by clicking on this link.

Prior to that, I kept a cataloged index of all posts on one page. You can access that page by clicking on this link.

You can also access my audio and video messages, as well.

tomvanderwell@gmail.com @tomvanderwell

Three Things Rotten in the State of [Any Country]

English: View of Capitol Hill from the U.S. Su...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
    But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
Proverbs 28:2 (NLT)

Forgive my little rant this morning, but this proverb reminded me of some things that have been rattling around in my head. There three things that I find rotten in our system of government (any and all political parties included) and I would find rotten in any system of government anywhere in the world:

Professional politicians. I like the idea our founding fathers had of citizens giving service to their country while having to provide for themselves in honest enterprise back home. I believe that a government full of professional politicians is a government full of men and women who will eventually lose touch with what’s it’s like to be an everyday citizen back home. People are people. They will eventually care less about the good of the whole than they will about solidifying their power base, covering their rear ends, getting re-elected and lining their own pockets for retirement. This is why we need checks and balances. I believe we would be better off if there were term and service limits for all elected offices, not just the presidency.

Pork barrel spending. It is dishonest to attach appropriations for spending tax dollars on pet projects to bills and laws that have nothing to do with said projects. This is, however, the way our government has worked for a long time. Powerful professional congressmen who, through seniority, have attained powerful committee positions attach all sorts of spending appropriations to bills so that federal money flows to projects and causes for which professional lobbyists have leveraged and in exchange (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) powerful individuals and corporations will deposit money in their election war chest. We never see or hear about these appropriations unless we really dig, and the president has no power to veto them unless he wants to veto the whole bill. It’s a scam and a big reason that we’re trillions of dollars in debt.

Hypocritical entitlement. Government officials should be required to abide by every law they pass without exception. Unfortunately, I believe that professional politicians who make their own rules, set their own salaries, and determine their own rules will eventually rig the system in subtle ways to benefit themselves without setting off any alarms among the constituency. If congress wants to pass health care legislation for the entire country, then they and their families should be required to live fully under the plan. If they are going to hold citizens accountable for insider trading, then they should not be allowed to use information gained from their government positions for their own personal gain. That just seems like common sense.

Thank you. Rant over.

Have a good weekend!