This article was originally posted in 2012, and can be found here.
‘Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh?” ‘ – Exodus 4:11
These words of God were spoken when Moses stood before the burning bush while He called Moses to represent Him in speaking to Pharaoh to free the Israelites from oppression. Like any person standing before a burning bush and speaking to God would feel, Moses felt both scared and inadequate. As a result, Moses tried to come up excuses and in order to try get out of this duty (chapter 4:13). Specifically, the excuse that Moses brought before God was his inability to speak well (4:10).
As a result, God responded.
Verse 11 of chapter 4 is amazing because we often forget that God is the giver of all gifts (James 1:17) and the creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16). Therefore, I believe that Moses’ encounter with God before the burning bush teaches believers a few lessons about ministry. As you step into your churches to serve this weekend (whether it’d be youth group, Sunday ministry, 1-1 discipleship, preaching, music leading, or anything of the like), I pray that these two points will be helpful as you serve.
Confidence and Fear
As servants of God, we need to have a balance between confidence and fear.
Our confidence in ministry does not come from our gifts or our abilities. Rather, our confidence comes from the knowledge that God is the giver of all gifts. This is the point of Exodus 4:11. While Moses felt like he was inadequate to serve God in such an important role, God reminded Moses that ultimately, it wasn’t him who would be working, but God working through him. Therefore, though Moses was not eloquent in speech, God reminded Moses that He was the maker of the human mouth (amongst other things)! As you step into different roles this week, your confidence should be built on the knowledge that God is your source of strength. Though things may be hard this weekend and you may feel inadequate in various areas, remember that God is the giver of all your gifts and He will continue to provide in areas that you lack – if necessary.
Our fear in ministry does not come from our fear of man or failure of meeting expectation. Rather, our fear comes from a fear of God – reverence for God.This is something that many have forgotten, especially if one has been engaged in ministry for an extended period of time. We need to remember that God is a Holy God. When Moses approached the burning bush, Yahweh tells Moses to take off his sandals ‘for the place where you are standing is holy ground’. As a result of God’s tangible presence and holiness, ‘Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God’ (3:6). If you can, please open your bibles to read Exodus 3-4 and soak this in for a little bit, because when we serve, we often forget about whom we are serving. This has dangerously resulted in a careless attitude in service, leading to half-hearted attempts and ‘not-so-great’ results. That being said, I do believe that God will use this within the church and the community, but have we forgotten about the Great God whom we are serving? Like Moses, we need to count our opportunity to serve as a great honor and privilege. Just as God could have easily asked someone else to represent Him before Pharaoh, God could easily replace you in your current role. Yet, He has chosen you and has entrusted this role to you. Therefore do not take this lightly.
I pray that your ministry will be even more joyful and fruitful as you find your confidence in service through God and engage in service with a humble and reverent, fear of the Lord.