For the Cowardly and Conceited

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will” (Exodus 3:10-13).

Then we said to the Lord, “Please Lord, I have never been influential, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am inexpressive and inexperienced.” The Lord said to us, “Who has made man’s mind? Who gave you a mind to think, hands to write, and thoughts to share? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your words, and teach you what you are to write. But we say, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will” (Exodus 3:10-13, personal paraphrase).

The first passage is Moses’ conversation with God. He was hesitant (to say the least) about leading the Israelites. The second passage was a paraphrase that I addressed to writers like myself, but I’m not just speaking to my fellow writers out there. You can apply Moses’ words to any situation. Maybe you doubt your math, evangelism, carpentry, musical, engineering, or teaching abilities.

Or maybe you’re too confident in your abilities. (I can relate to that.) Maybe a proud response to God’s calling would go something like this:

“Then we said to the Lord, “Yes, Lord, I have always been influential, both recently and in time past, and since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am very expressive and very experienced.” The Lord said to us, “Who has made man’s mind? Who gave you a mind to think, hands to write, and thoughts to share? Is it not, I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your words, and teach you what you are to write. And we say, “Yes, Lord, now send the message by me because no one else can do it as well as I can” (Exodus 3:10-13, personal paraphrase).

I believe that everything in life—especially the Christian’s life—is a balance. There’s a balance between being unwilling to use our gifts from God and being too willing to use them. You know what I mean by “too willing.” Basically, it means having an egotistical, superior attitude.

Which category do you fit into?

Are you afraid to share your talents and abilities? Maybe you’re afraid to pick up that pen, violin, soccer ball, calculator, or tract because you don’t know what’ll happen. Moses, too, had doubts. He was scared the Israelites wouldn’t believe him or listen to him. Are you scared no one will listen to your story? Are you scared they won’t believe what you have to say?

It’s not your job to convince people of your abilities. It’s just your job to glorify God, and you can’t glorify God with your gifts if you hide them in the back of your closet.

What is He telling you to do?

Maybe He’s nudging you to start playing piano in church, cook a meal for a family in need, share your testimony at youth group, volunteer at VBS, talk to the new kid in your class, watch babies in the nursery, invite your colleague to a church event, teach a Sunday school class, or run the sound system for Sunday service.

What fears are holding you back? Are you scared of failing—of messing up and feeling embarrassed? Like I said, we shouldn’t use our gifts to impress people (although I often do). We’re meant to point others to Christ.

Or maybe you have the opposite problem. Maybe you’re well aware of your talents (and maybe everyone else is, too). When we brag about our abilities or use our gifts to get attention, we’re not glorifying God. I know it’s nice to hear the applause after you sing in church or have people compliment your excellent Sunday school lesson. But never forget to point to the One who gave you the voice to sing, the mouth to share a lesson, the hands to write a story, the feet to score goals, and the mind to solve problems.

To sum up:

  1. Remember that when you hide the abilities God has given you, you miss out on the opportunity to point others to Him.
  2. Use your gifts whether you get attention or not. When the audience remains motionless, just remember the One who is smiling in heaven because the gifts He has provided are being used well.

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