Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 26

Exodus 2:11-3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5:7-14

There was a time when I might have thought that the way to get started in ministry or in a career was to excel in seminary, to become an excellent teacher, or to author a book that would make the best-seller list.

Moses may have thought that the way to get his start in ministry or in a career was to be a hero and to defend his people who were slaves of the Egyptians. He thought he was doing a good thing when he murdered the Egyptian man who was abusing an Israelite slave. But, unknown to him, he was observed by another Hebrew who challenged him on his ‘heroism’ and mocked the deed he had done.

Moses left Egypt hurriedly, abandoning the training he had received as an adopted prince and leaving behind his wealth and importance. He became a fugitive from Pharaoh’s law (Ex. 2:15) and fled to Midian. There he found refuge with a wise priest named Jethro and married one of his daughters, Zipporah, with whom he eventually had two sons (Ex. 2:21-22).  And he took up a new career: shepherding.

One day, while watching his sheep, he had an unexpected encounter with God through a burning bush (Ex. 3). God explained to him that He wanted Moses to enter ministry His way, saying, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10). But by now Moses felt inadequate for the task. Many years of solitude in the desert had quenched his thirst for heroism and he tried politely to decline saying, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11).

But God was persistent. And on this first day of Moses’ new calling, God told him the end of the story: the Israelites would leave Egypt and they would leave wealthy. (Notice who would gain this wealth for the nation of Israel—it’s the women! More details on that will follow as we continue reading in Exodus.)

I love that it is God who calls us to ministry. None of us will be a leader like Moses. He was one of a kind, used by God in a unique way. But we will be called to ministry, and often not until we have given up our ambitions and our need to be a hero.

I went to Bible College longing to go into Christian ministry, and I did serve for many years as a volunteer co-worker with my husband in his pastorates and raising our five children. But along the way I had to set aside some of my ambitions. And that was probably a good thing.

And then, when I was in my fifties, God called me into ministry as the pastor to women in a large church. And I got a paycheck for it! It wasn’t quite a burning bush experience, but it was pretty important in my life.  And I think my time there was useful to God’s Kingdom.

God has an assignment for you, too. You may still be shepherding in the desert (raising children can feel that way at times); there are often delays in our timeline. God will make clear what, and when, your next assignment is.

And the delays we experience are often part of the training for our new assignment, just as it was for Moses. Everything he has learned from shepherding recalcitrant sheep will be put to the test as he leads God’s people to their new home in the next few weeks of our reading.

Hang on! And expect delays.

- Nell Sunukjian

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Mom, for the encouragement to keep shepherding.