“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.“MARK 16:15
Have you ever been asked to do something you did not want to do and made one excuse after another to avoid doing it? Of course, we all have, and whether it is to lead a project at work, be a guest speaker for a local fundraiser, or whatever, we can come up with the dandiest excuses for why we are not suited for the task. That is more often than not attributed to a lack of self-confidence and or a genuine fear of failure. This type of mindset traces back through Old Testament Scripture to one of the most vivid and memorable characters in the Bible, Moses.
Scripture records that Moses was raised as Pharoah’s grandson per se, but having killed an Egyptian who treated a Hebrew slave harshly, he had to flee from Egypt for his life. When the voice of the Lord spoke to Moses from a burning bush, He told Moses that He was sending him back to Pharoah so he could lead the sons of Israel out of bondage and away from the land of Egypt. Moses replied to the Lord with a question. He said, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exo. 3:11).
Interestingly, Moses’s first reaction is a feeling of being insufficient for the task. Raised in royalty to living as a mere shepherd probably made Moses feel like a failure or insignificant. Any Christians out there who ever felt that way? I have. It goes without saying that we will experience some form of trepidation when the Lord calls us to step out of our comfort zone. You see, stepping out of our comfort zone is essential to our spiritual growth. Why? Because it teaches us to rely on God’s ability, not our own. However, the Lord is not pushing us out the door to face the world alone, and we see this in His response to Moses.
“Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who has sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”EXODUS 3:12
The pivotal takeaway here is God telling Moses that He will go with him to Egypt instead of reassuring Moses of his human ability. It is also interesting that God did not say, “if you bring the people out of Egypt,” but instead, He said, “when you have brought the people out…” meaning God already knew that Moses would lead the people. God does not call the boastful, arrogant, and self-assured; instead, he calls the humble, modest, and Christ-assured to be His prime movers in the world.
Moses continued to offer God one excuse after another in a series of “What if” questions and saying, “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exo. 4:10). The problem with “What if” type expressions is the frequent use of the term “I” or “me” that focuses on one’s self. Moses was more focused on his inability than God’s supreme ability, as he stands in front of a burning bush that is not being consumed — hello! It reminds me of the 1985 classic movie series Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
In the movie, the character Biff Tannen says to George McFly while knocking on his head, “Hello! Anybody home? Think McFly think!” If you are familiar with the movie, you can easily imagine the Lord more gently knocking on Moses’s head, saying, “Hello! Anybody home? Think Moses think; It is not about you!” And, it is not about us either. Admittedly, we can sometimes fall into the excuses mindset when prompted by the Holy Spirit to take action, such as sharing the gospel. The prophet Isaiah gives us an excellent yet simple example of how we should respond to God’s calling.
The Lord asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah replied, “Here I am Lord, send me.”ISAIAH 6:8
Isaiah did not offer the Lord a litany of excuses, nor did he ask where, when, or why; he said, “send me!” That should always be our mindset when the Holy Spirit prompts us to act no matter what He calls us to do, such as to reach out and share the gospel with someone. However, it is easy for some, both old and new believers, to be timid when it comes to telling others about the path of salvation. We can convince ourselves that whether someone accepts Jesus or not rests squarely on our shoulders, but that is not the case; instead, it rests with the person who receives the message.
In the same fashion that the Lord reassured Moses that He would be with Moses when Moses returned to Egypt to lead the sons of Israel out of bondage, so the Lord gives us this same assurance today. When Jesus issued The Great Commission, just before His ascension into heaven, He gave this promise to His followers: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). God will always be with us through the Holy Spirit’s presence, who dwells within those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
Whatever calling the Lord places on your heart, what will be your response? Will you offer one excuse after another like Moses, or will your answer be “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” like Isaiah’s? Be encouraged to set your fears aside and place your unknown future in the hands of a known God. There is nothing that His mighty hands cannot accomplish through the faithful heart of those who believe and are obedient to His word.