(Personal note from the writer: In the previous post, I mentioned the death of my friend, Donna Taylor. Her “Farewell celebration” and memorial service will be held Sunday. In the meanwhile, I hope you’ll take time to read the note I wrote about her, and that you’ll prayerfully remember her husband, Rick, and the Taylor family.)
In this present sequence, I’m continuing to explore the idea of what it might be like if God were to actually begin a conversation with us. I concluded that, if He chose to do that in addition to the other things He’s said in Scripture, Nature, His Son and His Word, He might begin such a conversation with a question similar to what He’d asked others in different places in time. And then He’d await an answer.
The question I’m pondering at present was one God asked Moses many years and many miles away from us. It was raised unexpectedly. Moses is caught completely off guard. As we pick up the account of the incident, he’s being asked by someone he doesn’t even know to undertake an assignment that he does not want. Adamantly, defiantly he declines the request (for good reason, we suspect). Further, he explains, he’s not qualified.
“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:” Exodus 4:1~4
WHAT IS THAT IN YOUR HAND?
It’s just a simple stick. Carefully selected, perhaps, stripped of bark, moistened and carefully, patiently molded into the form with which he felt comfortable. It could be used as a weapon. It often was. One of my favorite memories of my boyhood adventures with Robin Hood when he once came upon Alan a Dale who was singing at the time. He was the troubador of the group of merry men, as I recall. When Robin persisted, Alan finally took his staff and trounced Robin soundly. And added: “Don’t ever interrupt me while I’m singing.”
It was just an ordinary staff, but it could be used very effectively as a weapon. Robin Hood would verify that fact!
I’ve learned from so many people through the years, that in some cases I’ve forgotten who taught me some things or where I read them. And I’ve read some beautiful stories, some of which were fact and others which were fiction. For the life of me, sometimes I’m not exactly certain if some of the stories were actual facts.
Like the story I once heard about a knight who’d performed valiantly in battle. With his sword he had single handedly disposed of a number of enemy soldiers. As the story goes, he received high honors for his heroism, including a meeting with the King. The King wanted to see the sword the warrior had used for his accomplishment, and as he examined it the King observed: “Why, this is just an ordinary sword.”
To which the warrior replied: “Ahhh. Yes, my lord. But his majesty should have seen the arm that wielded it!”
Ah! Such is the stuff of legends. But fact or fiction, it does make a valid point: An ordinary object in the hands of an extraordinary person can be used to accomplish mighty deeds. What is that in your hand? Even if you think it’s “just a stick,” do you have any idea of what God could do with it if you let go of it?
I thought a bit further, and it occurred to me that if this were a staff, simply a shepherd’s staff, then it was the main tool of Moses trade. It was the symbol which told you his occupation. It was not a hammer, or an oar. It wasn’t a magnifying glass or a stethoscope. What he had in his had was just a rod, or a staff. The staff was one of the tools with which he made his living, a symbol of his occupation.
O.K., Now. Just supposing we are hoping God would strike up a conversation with us, would it be too big a stretch to think He might ask us something like that? Yes, you’re correct. It’s a personal question.. But doesn’t He have the right to ask? Of all people, if He feels He needs to know something that simple, why would anyone withhold the information. Or refuse to answer the question?
What is that in your hand? More directly, what is your means of livelihood? How do you make your living? What are the tools of your trade? A computer? A scalpel or a stethoscope? A key to a successful business? A teacher’s textbooks and skills? What are you grasping, or clutching tightly to yourself, as though it belongs solely to you. What if God needs it? Is it by chance a musical instrument which you play skillfully, or an artist’s brush with which you can astonish others? If you see a world in need and the God of the Universe needs and invites your services. . .how would you answer such a question?
What do you have in your possession right now? Has it occurred to you that might be precisely the clue you’ve searched for all your life as you try to determine your mission in your years on planet Earth? Doesn’t it make some sense that the things you do best may give you an idea where your mission lies?
What is that in your hand?
God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student ~donkimrey