What’s That In Your Hand?

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You don’t have what it takes.
You don’t possess enough talent, education, expertise, and skill to make it happen and get it done.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who speaks this way to themselves at times.

Moses did too.

Then the Lord told Moses, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. Exodus 3:7

Hey Moses, I see a need of eternal importance. I’m gonna need someone to help.

Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt. Exodus 3:10

I need your help. It’s going to be bigger than you, a holy ambition, and BHAG (big hairy audacious goal).

But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

Uh oh. Here comes that voice. You don’t have what it takes, do you? You don’t possess enough to get it done.

God answered, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:12

Isn’t that enough, Moses?

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Exodus 4:1-2

Apparently not. The self-doubt is TOO great to overcome.

Then the Lord asked him, “What’s that in your hand?” Exodus 4:3

That’s the KEY question. What do you already possess? I’ve equipped you with something, given you more than you realize. What is that in your hand?

“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.

“We have a perspective limited by what we see on earth, which keeps us from recognizing the invisible, unlimited resources of our Father in Heaven. What I think I need to get the job done and what God thinks I need are not always the same thing.” Brian Houston, Live Love Lead

Combine what God has already given you with God’s unlimited power and potential, you have what it takes to see God work. Powerfully. When the self-doubt rises, let God ask you: What’s that in your hand?

What To Do When Passion Comes Unhinged

I was born with a passion chip. Some part of my genetic code gets riled up under certain circumstances.

I relate to Peter when the guards came to take away Jesus. Peter’s passion DNA started firing on all cylinders: “Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.” ‭‭John‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s safe to say passion overrode his system and he acted in anger, maybe even sin. A verse later, Jesus rebukes Peter, tells him to put his sword away, and heals the man’s ear.

Even though this feels like a righteous passion, a holy discontent, his response was still corrected by Jesus. His passion became unhinged.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been Peter in this situation.

Sports: I plowed a few catchers in baseball, got in more than my share of scuffles in sports, punched a wall when I was 15 during a basketball game, and threw my helmet more times than I can remember. The passion was there because I wanted to win. Still righteous, but unhinged.

Family: As a husband and parent, I’ve reacted in anger more than a few times. Passionately wanting the best for my marriage and my kids, but this passion can come unhinged and I may slice off a few ears in the process.

Ministry: Now my calling is ministry, to reach people for Christ, and to build the local church. My heart beats passionately, and like Peter, this passion can become unhinged.

When it does, I try to remind myself of two things:

1. God created the heavens and the earth and spoke the world into motion. He chooses me – humanity – to carry out his mission on earth, but he doesn’t need me any more than he needs himself.

Reminding myself that God is God causes me to breathe and reflect. Before slicing off an ear, I need to remind myself that God is still working. I may not understand or like it, but that does not necessarily mean it’s not what God wants to happen.

2. Do not sin in anger or passion. Passion is not a sin. Even an angry passion is not a sin in and of itself. However, our response is key. What we do with that passion. How we respond. Where we place it.

When the passion does overload and becomes unhinged, be quick to apologize. To others. To yourself. To God. 

Is there a time to potentially slice off an ear (figuratively speaking, of course)? I think there is. Defending the widow, the orphan, the outcast, the helpless, and defenseless. Carrying out the greatest commandment: To love God and love others. When the mission goes haywire. Sure, there are times when passion needs to boil to the point of becoming unhinged. But only to the point.

Today, I’m reminded that God is in control, that he breathes and the world moves, and to not sin when the passion boils. But I’m also reminded, like Peter, Jesus is looking for those who are willing to fight for what’s true, good, and right, even if we want to occasionally slice off an ear.