Moses led his flock out to the edge of the desert, and he came to God’s mountain, called Horeb. The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. (Exodus 3:2; CEB)
We never hear the story of Moses’ call to be the deliverer of his people who are in bondage in Egypt without noting his reluctance. He excuses himself and mentions his lack of gifts and graces, notably his lack of public speaking skills. The reluctance is natural because the challenge of delivering this vast number of people out of bondage is enormous. God is asking more than Moses can imagine, and he must have found the call overwhelming. When God calls us we often feel the same way. We first make excuses for our lack of time and talent. We admit our fear of failure. We immediately lose confidence and we lose heart as well.
We are reluctant to give up control of our lives or give up our personal dreams and plans. Anne Lamott says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.”
Moses had plans that centered on the quiet, pastoral life of shepherding out in Midian, away from Pharoah and away from the visible suffering of his people.
I suspect this reluctance is a healthy thing for us. We need the humility generated by reluctance to remind us that we are human. Reluctance prevents us from becoming pretentious. Reluctance reminds us that we are not indispensable. Reluctance and the accompanying anxiety provide us with some needed adrenaline to get the job done.
Reluctance causes us to rely fully on God. The God who called us will equip us to do what is being asked of us and we quickly learn that we cannot rely on ourselves or our own strength. This reluctance causes us to be better team players and reminds us that we have brothers and sisters, our Miriams and Aarons, who will come alongside us and assist us in fulfilling God’s plans. The call of God is not a solo experience. God’s plans are always fulfilled in the context of a great community of the reluctant faithful.
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