Summary: Encouraging people to use what ever God has given them for his service - Example of Moses and his staff.

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What is that in your hand?

It is so encouraging isn’t it to see how many people are involved in ministry in this church. That says to me that there are many people who are serious about using their gifts and talents for God. This is encouraging because this means that you either

1) know what part of the body you are and are committing yourself to fulfilling that function for the benefit of the rest of the body, or

2) are not exactly sure what your role should be - but that is not stopping you from attempting something.

I want to encourage all of you who stood up this morning to serve with enthusiasm this year. Be assured that what you are doing is important in the whole scheme of things - no matter how small.

I know there are 3 types of people here this morning who I want to address. And many of you will find yourself fitting into one of these categories.

• Firstly there the doubting - those who are not willing to serve in any capacity yet. This may be because you doubt that you have anything to offer or that you doubt that you could do anything worth considering. Well listen this morning because God has a message for you

• Secondly there are the worriers - or the nervous. Those of you who have agreed to do something this year that was beyond your wildest dreams a year ago and still even today you are not sure how on earth they are going to carry out the things they have volunteered to do. The only thing that is stopping you crawling under the bed and hiding is that you are scared of letting the already small team down. Do you fit in this category?

• Thirdly there are the comfortable - those who are doing what they have done many times in the past. It doesn’t hold any surprises and they have the skills and experience to be able to carry out the taks comfortably. They don’t need to think about it too much and they certainly don’t need to rely on God as it is almost second nature to them. If you fit into this category, listen this morning because God has something for you.

When you think of Moses, you think of a great leader, a faithful servant. He was given a great task to do and he was certainly a great leader. But he like many of you was initially unwilling to be involved in God’s master plan. We all know the story of the burning bush and Moses’ excuses before God. He had 4 excuses and God had 4 answers.

- Who Am I? (vs 11-12) God’s answer was - it doesn’t matter Moses who you are - what is important is who I am and that I will be with you.

- I won’t know what to say (vs 13-14). God’s answer was I will tell you.

- They won’t listen to me (vs 1ff). God’s answer was that I will work through you in power. They will see and believe.

- I can’t speak well (I don’t have the skills) (vs 10ff). God’s answer was to speak through him.

Do you have similar excuses as Moses? Well God has similar answers for you. Moses was once a doubter. And at the beginning of his ministry he was certainly Nervous.

We are not going to focus on all of these excuses this morning, but I want to focus on a single question God asks of Moses in the midst of these excuses. Before we get to that lets read part of this account - Ex 4:1-20.

In the midst of this dialog, after the third excuse God asks Moses simply “What is that in your hand?”

“What Lord, I don’t have anything in my hand.”

“No Moses ... What is that you have in your hand.”

“Oh this ... This Lord ... Well its my staff, just a stick Lord, its a bit battered - almost time for a new one - but its served me well.”

In its context, God had already answered the first two of Moses’ excuses by promising to be with him and to provide him with all the help he needed. But Moses was still unconvinced. He still doubted that God had the skills and ability to carry this thing off and so he said. You’d better find someone else - They won’t listen to me anyway.

To this God asked the question ... “What is that in your hand?”

To Moses his staff was nothing special. It was a walking stick, a weapon, a guide for his sheep. To Moses, it was a staff. It neither made Moses special or unique. But to God is was untapped potential if only it was released to him for service.

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