Summary: The things that we think get in the way of us serving God are the very things he can use to help us progress.
MAXIMISING YOUR MINISTRY
Part Two : Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones
Many of us resist stepping out in ministry or involvement because of perceived stumbling blocks in our lives. We feel there are issues that stand in the way of God using us.
Of course there are those who do not want God to use them or rather do not want to use the gifts God has given them to achieve something for his kingdom. It is difficult to help people who don’t want help, to inspire those who are uninspirable, to enthuse those who are indifferent. In these situations we ask the Holy Spirit to do the work needed to convince.
But many of you long to find the fulfillment that flows from knowing you are a valuable part of what God is doing in and through his church in these last days.
Moses is a very good example of a man who ‘presented’ to God reasons (stumbling blocks) as to why God could not possible use him. BUT ….. God did !
Look with me at the call of Moses ….. Exodus 3:1-10
Note the remarkable ‘revelation’ of God he had. The like of which you nor I have ever seen. And yet he still failed to believe it possible that God could use him. After all look at the kind of man he was ….. ‘An upper class, educated murderer, with a speech impediment who was wasting his life away looking after sheep in a desert’ - How could God be interested in a man like that ?
The funny thing is that our ‘life experiences’ are often the very qualifications God deems ideal for the specific task/s he asks of us. After all God’s job descriptions are laughable to worldly minds …… 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
What is Paul actually saying ?
Worldly wisdom is foolishness in comparison to God’s - v25
Most of us are ‘unwise’ by worldly standards - v26
God chooses to use those who have been rejected - v27,28 i.e. the foolish , the weak, the lowly, the despised.
Wow ! God takes the bits the world rejects and throws away to make something the world is incapable of making. He uses the off cuts of cloth to make a magnificent garment, He takes the people who don’t amount to much in worldly eyes and makes them his partners. Jesus took a bunch of fishermen, tax collectors, religious zealots and made them the leaders of the greatest movement on the face of the earth …… the church.
Paul tells us that God does this for two reasons …….
To remove the pride of self-praise - v29
To glorify the power of God’s Son - v30,31
Notice that Paul considers himself an excellent example of this very understanding. In
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul says “If you think you’re not good enough, wise enough, strong enough or mighty enough … join the queue and bye the way I’m at the front”
Let’s return to Moses …. Called by God to a massive mission …. BUT he was busy presenting to God reasons why God had got it wrong, why God needed to find someone else, why God should advertise the post again.
1st STUMBLING BLOCK ….. Low self esteem
Exodus 3:11 - the perpetual thought of the person with a low self esteem … “who am I ?”
Moses seemed to have good reason for his low self esteem. After all he was the victim of a mixed identity …. He had been born a Hebrew, he had been educated an Egyptian, he had been raised a prince and he ended up a nomadic shepherd.
He is unconvinced by God’s revelation as the “God of your father” …. He was not impressed by the fact that God considered him suitable when he said “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt”
Only someone with a low self esteem would not be impressed or convinced. The proud man would marvel that God had finally realized what a great guy he was.
Moses is not alone in presenting God with this stumbling block …. Gideon - Judges 6:11-17
“…how can I save Israel ? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Yet Gideon rose to be a mighty warrior leader plundering the Midianites with an army of 300 men)
What does low self esteem do to hinder us being used by God ?
It causes us to doubt that we have the necessary ability or gifts, it causes us to fear what others will think if we push ourselves forward and get involved in some area of work or ministry in the body. It reminds us of what people have said in the past about us, our inability’s and failures.