Me?! Are you kidding?

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9And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” 13Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”   Exodus 3:9-14

No doubt Moses believed something needed to be done to rescue the children of Israel from slavery. No doubt he thought it was awful. But he also knew this would be no easy task. He knew getting a hearing from the people of Israel and Pharaoh would be difficult.

He was not sure he was God’s go-to-guy.

In order to lead, leaders have to believe they can make a difference. Whether you are leading a work team with a project or a discipleship group with a vision of life change, you must believe you can make a difference. Moses was not sure he could make the difference. But if he was sent by one who could then perhaps he could lead.

Moses did not need the power to make a difference to be fully located in him. But he did need to know that The Power to make a difference was really sending him. The task — bring the people of Israel out of Egypt was bigger than Moses could have imagined. Because once “out of Egypt” Moses had to lead them into a life with God that would get the “Egypt” out of them. But now, Moses had to know he had access to God and so he asks, “Who do I say is sending me.”

God’s answer blows the doors off small and regional mentality of power. He says, “I AM — I Who was, Who is, and Who will be” is sending you.

Jesus calls His followers into a life of difference making. It flows first from knowing Him and being changed by Him. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” He’s got the power. “All authority!”

Is it possible that our resistance to leading, giving, and serving may really be a product of our perpetually small view of God and not of ourselves?

Like you… or not.

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6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call upon him while he is near;

7let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:6-9

 Religion

God could be the invention of human need.
And so it is with false religion.
The construction of God in the mind seeks to mediate our brokenness.
And so we have idolatry.

 Seekers

So what do we do with the seeking heart?
The person who is seeking God must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who come to him. (Hebrews 11:6)

 God reveals

When God is doing the revealing we are inevitably confronted with the difference.
His thoughts are not our thoughts.
His ways are not our ways.

And then the seeker may want to run, hide, and settle for a weaker or more distant version of God.

Wait, stop. That’s the time to turn toward Jesus, confess, change your thoughts, change your ways in His power according to His revelation. In His grace. Through Him. Then, you will become… like Him.

Illustrated from Luke 5:1-11

1On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

 

Which one is not like the other?

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“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, 

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”  Luke 7:31-35

The games we play searching for a handle on life.

Remember the game? Remember the exercise in learning how to differentiate? Which one is not like the other? But now that we are growing up we must add a second question:  Which one is not like the other and what does that mean?

We can differentiate. And there are many places in life where we must. However, the problem comes when we are infected with the temptation to control for uniformity. Like the generation viewing Jesus and John the Baptist we are frustrated by not being in control. We play the flute and you do not dance! We sing a dirge and you do not cry!

Missing the diverse work of God.

Jesus is drawing out the proclivity of his generation and ours to miss the work of God when it is different from what we expect. Could Jesus and John have been more different in the lifestyle? John lived the life of an ascetic in the desert. Jesus lived the life of one fully engaged in the lives of city sinners. John fasted. Jesus feasted. And the people were dismayed by the difference so they judged and accused: John has a demon. Jesus is a glutton.

The Beginning of Wisdom

Jesus says wisdom is demonstrated, shown, justified by her fruit… by her children. Wisdom begins with worship. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” So there it is, the source of Jesus and John’s difference is God. As we each pursue Christ we should not expect that we will all be uniform in the expression of His grace and truth through our personality, passions, patterns, professions, and prayers. Wisdom encourages us to watch with wonder and delight as The Spirit of God manifests the image of the Son in the followers of Christ and His church to the glory of God.