I’ve been trying to get my blog off the ground for years. Every time I start, I get a few people who view it, even less who comment, and I am discouraged. Unless I write something controversial, in which case people go on the attack. Is there anything worth writing that people will engage without going on the attack?
My favorite character in history is Moses. While he seemed like this all powerful magician, I like him for another reason. He actually stood in front of God and argued with him. Imagine that? The freedom to argue with God.
See, Moses didn’t have much in the way of self-esteem. He stuttered, didn’t know what to say, and pretty much botched his childhood in Egypt. On top of that, while he may have grown up a prince, he was born a slave. Luck was all that saved his life as an infant, and it was luck that propelled him into royalty.
Moses led an easy life as a prince. Even after murdering a slave task master, he didn’t have to face justice. Strange as it may seem, he ended up being what appears to be a prominent shepherd of a flock. Though I wouldn’t call that an easy life, he didn’t have to face his crime.
Seems to me, Moses had it easy.
I remember an interview with a prominent artist on NPR once. The interviewer asked him, “What makes your art stand our against the competition?” He replied, “Nothing. People make that mistake all the time. They think that because I’m famous, my art is somehow better. But I’ve seen poor artists with more skill than me. The thing I had that they didn’t was mere timing; I was at the right place at the right time. Not everybody gets that.”
The path towards making a difference begins with the first step, but that’s always the hardest. No matter what step one makes, it seems nobody else cares. It feels lonely trying to become someone when you begin as a nobody.
My wife and I have great jobs. It took us a bit to find ones we felt great about, but we got there. We make enough money to own a home and put something away. We have two amazing kids. It would be so easy for us to kick back and live life without a care for others.
But like Moses, God doesn’t seem to want to let go of me. There’s a churning in the depths of my being to make a difference, but I haven’t a clue how!
The Christian life is not meant to be of luxury. We don’t get to sit back and pretend the woes of the world are someone else’s problem. Like with Moses, God wants us to do something about them.
And yet, Moses didn’t think himself worthy. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Moses asks of God. Standing in front of a burning bush, Moses argues that he’s the worst possible person for the task. How small he must have felt.
We tend to argue with God a lot. There’s so much injustice out there, so many needs, so much empty spirituality. It would be easy to hide, to find a life of luxury and pretend it’s not our problem. But that’s not what God wants.
And yet, how do we begin? We fear that first step into making a difference. What if we screw it up? What if we pick the wrong path?
The Chinese mystic Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Whatever path you think will help, take that first step. See, God’s response was direct: “I will be with you.” If God wants you somewhere else, he’ll guide you there. But all the guidance in the world doesn’t help if you aren’t going anywhere. The Spirit can turn you, but only if you’re moving.
A. J. Swoboda, a pastor and theologian in Portland, wrote in his book The Dusty Ones:
I heard a Jewish rabbi once say that Moses wasn’t all that special. He said that there is an ancient teaching that lots of other people had walked by the bush but did not have the gumption to lower themselves to talk to a bush. Moses, he concluded, was unique in that he was willing to stop, take off his shoes, and talk to God in a bush. Consider also that moment three visitors came to Abraham in Genesis 18—many have argued that he was visited by the divine Trinity. Or consider that moment when God comes to Elijah in the wind. We could go on and on. The point is that God comes down to people where they are, on their level, and reveals himself in ways they can handle.
What you have to offer the world may start as something small. I imagine there were others who passed up God’s offer to lead his people out of slavery. The question is, do you—or I—have the willingness to follow God, to respond to a burning bush? Looks like this post is shaping up to be my first response.