Like the question, “What are you doing here? Elijah.” this question that God asked of Moses seems to have captured the imagination of the people of God well beyond its original import. Moses takes the sheep to graze, and comes across a bush that is burning but not burnt up. God makes his presence known and calls Moses to lead the people of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. Moses was less than enthusiastic! Thirteen times he comes up with reasons to deflect God’s mission, and each time the Lord responds; patient, honest, faithful, because God will not force, but wants to work in partnership.
Most of us would not think of ourselves as being called by God (that’s for vicars) but to be a Christian IS to have heard God’s call – come and follow me – we are all disciples. That is our first call, the same for all of us. Our second call is more specific, God has a place and a purpose for us as a community and as an individual from the ordinary to the extraordinary – from how live as family, to our place in work, to how we volunteer with acts of service and mercy, to being part of something much bigger. Each purpose is a partnership in the Gospel that in small ways and big ways is about setting God’s people free, enabling people to live life to the full and to fulfil God’s potential in them. If we struggle to pinpoint what we are being called to do at this time, think about that thing that we’ve come up with an amazing number of reasons why we should not – not infallible, but worth thinking about why we are finding reasons, and where we might be being challenged.
What is in your hand? An ordinary staff, a walking pole. God shows how even the everyday was a tool for the work God had for Moses. Moses seems to have had a speech impediment, yet God still wants him to go and speak. God is able to use us, ordinary people, and the very ordinary resources that we have to hand. In partnership with God it can set people free.
Even when he begins the journey to Egypt with his wife and infant son, Moses has still not agreed to fulfill God’s mission. But the journey has begun and, he carries with him the staff. We tend to think of him as a giant amongst God’s people, but Moses was as reluctant as the rest of us, avoiding even speaking its name. We may not have admitted it to ourselves, let alone God; but the first steps are there that have the potential of freedom and promise.