6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: There are two ways to approach life, with a clenched fish or an open hand. A clenched fist person says: “All I have, I have gained on my own.” An opened hand person says, “All I have, God has provided and blessed. I am just a manager of all God has gi

Living a Generous Life

Exodus 4:1-5

It took God speaking to Moses from a burning bush to get the attention of Moses and make a life-changing impact on Moses. Moses was about 40 years old when he left Egypt and fled to Midian and there he worked as a Shepherd 40 years for the Priest of Midian, Jethro. One day while walking in the desert neat the Mountain of Horeb or Sinai he saw a burning bush that did not burn up. As he neared the bush God spoke to Moses. God said he heard the cries of the people in bondage in Egypt. God had a plan for His people and it included Moses. God told Moses that He wanted Moses to lead the people of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt.

God told Moses that He would be with him. Moses protested and said the people would not follow him. How would they know he was the messenger of the Lord? Exodus 4:1-5

Moses seemed to have an excuse for everything God wanted him to do. People today continue to have excuses for not being faithful in serving the Lord.

Years ago I read an article outlining the excuses, that a person might use for not going to sports events. “Every time I went they asked for money. The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly. The seats were too hard and uncomfortable. The coach never came to see me. The referee made a decision with which I could not agree. I was sitting with some hypocrites – they only came to see what others were wearing. Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home. The band played numbers that I had never heard before. The games were scheduled when I want to do other things. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches anyway. I don’t want to take my children, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.”

Do any of those excuses sound familiar? I’ve heard all of them in the past.

Moses finally stopped making excuses and listened to the Lord. He cast his staff on the ground.

Moses had to cast the shepherd’s staff on the ground. Only when he turned lose of his staff was God able to do wonders and miracles.

God continues to ask every person He creates: “What is in your hand?”

There are two ways to approach life, with a clenched fish or an open hand. A clenched fist person says: “All I have, I have gained on my own.” An opened hand person says, “All I have, God has provided and blessed. I am just a manager of all God has given me.”

I. The Pathway of a Clenched Fist

The pathway of the clenched fist is the pathway of self-centeredness. “All I have is mine and you what you have is mine.” The clenched fist is the way of self centered living.

When I served in Kansas City as pastor of the Aldersgate FMC I did my best to encourage a young man to seek the Lord. He was a graduate of Kansas State and was involved in ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps). After graduation he spent three years as a Navel Officer. When he returned to Kansas City he began working at a bank and taking courses to become an attorney.

I remember one Sunday evening we had him over to the church parsonage for dinner. After dinner I talked to him about putting his faith in the Lord and asking God to guide his life. He said, “All that I have I have gained on my own… My degree in college, my time in the Navy and my banking job; I have achieved all I have on my own without God’s help. I don’t need God’s help now.”

Several months later I had the funeral service for that young man. He committed suicide.

Hanging on to what is in your hand, living a self-centered life sucks the joy out of your life. A clenched fist life is a life with a shriveled soul.

Commercials do a good job communicating to our children that having certain things brings happiness. The golden arches advertise that having a “Happy Meal” is the way to happiness. Today, toddlers can recognize golden arches by the time they are 18 months old. Pastor John Ortberg in one his books says that when you buy your kid a Happy Meal: You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a free toy - you’re buying happiness! The advertisements have convinced our children that they have a little McDonald-shaped vacuum in their souls: “Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in a Happy Meal.”

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