Summary: Our call to service means using whatever gifts and opportunities God places in our hands. Nothing more; nothing less.
What’s In Your Hand?
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: A college professor, an avowed atheist, told his class that he intended to prove to them that God didn’t exist. Addressing the ceiling he shouted: "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you 15 minutes!" The lecture room fell silent. You could have heard a pin fall. Ten minutes went by. Again he taunted God, saying, "Here I am, God. I’m still waiting."
He smiled at the class as he counted down to the last couple of minutes. Near the rear of the class, a student looked around and quietly stood up. He was a big guy, a Marine - just released from active duty and newly registered in the class. The Marine walked up to the professor without saying a word. He approached the teacher, reared back and hit him full force, and sent him tumbling from his lofty platform.
The stunned professor just lay there for a minute! The students were shocked. The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silent. When the professor finally came around, he looked up at the young Marine. “What’s the matter with you? Why did you do that?" he demanded. "God told me to tell you he was busy so He sent me!"
It may not be exactly like that but God has an assignment for you today. He wants to send you into his service. Today we move to the fourth purpose for which God made us. Using Rick Warren’s roadmap for our search for the Bible’s answer to “what on earth am I here for,” we’ve discovered that we are “planned for God’s pleasure. God put us here to worship him. Secondly, we were formed for God’s family. He fashioned us to live in fellowship with others. True believers need the support and encouragement of others in the family of the church. Last week, we examined the third purpose. We were created for Christ-likeness. The Bible calls this discipleship. Becoming a Christian means following Jesus’ teachings and accepting his example as our model for life. This brings us to our next purpose. We were shaped for God’s service. The Bible terms this purpose—ministry.
The story of Moses provides a good case study for our look into the purpose and nature of our ministries. Our view of Moses tends to be larger than life. When we think Moses, we see Charleston Heston. We see a strong, powerful, determined saint of God, nothing like us. But that’s not the whole story. It’s not even close.
Moses’ life was about to turn in a whole new direction. That was no small thing for an eighty year old man. But it had happened to Moses before. He was born to slave parents during the dark days of Pharaoh’s persecution of the Hebrew people. To save his life, Moses’ mother hid him in the river. He was unexpectedly discovered and rescued by Pharaoh’s own daughter. Moses moved from the slave quarters to the king’s palace. His Hebrew mother became his private nurse. She taught him that though he may be Pharaoh’s grandson to everybody else, he was still one of God’s people.
For forty years, Moses lived as a prince of Egypt. Life was good. Then one day he intervened in behalf of a Hebrew slave. In the brawl that followed, he killed the Egyptian slave master. Now a murderer, Moses fled for his life to a distant country. One day he was one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. The next day he’s living in the middle of nowhere.
Life goes on. Moses settles down to life as a poor shepherd, marries a local girl, and raises a family. He no doubt remembered Egypt, the real Hebrew grandparents his children had never seen, maybe even the palace halls where he had romped as a child. Maybe he even longed for those bygone days. But there was no way going back. Then one day when Moses least expected it, God showed up. The when, the where, and the how are not our concern today. What happened is!
God speaks to Moses from the burning bush. He has some good news and some bad news. First, the good news! The Lord knew the plight of the Hebrew people and he was going to do something about it. He was going to set his people free. Moses was all for it. Now for the bad news—Moses had been selected to lead the way.
Moses may have been surprised. We shouldn’t be. God almost always uses people to accomplish his tasks in this world. Sometimes God uses an angel to do his bidding. Occasionally he might use a dumb beast or the brute forces of nature. But the vast majority of the time God calls ordinary men and women. He equips them for his service. He then sends them out in ministry. God certainly could do otherwise. But most of the time he chooses to invite us (people like you and me) to come along side and be part of his work in the world.