Moses had lots of excuses when God called him to lead
by Ken Ediger
Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you…” (Exod. 3:11-12a)
Real leaders are in short supply. The church has been given the greatest task in all of history and the most powerful resources in the universe. It offers the greatest solutions to world need. Yet the church suffers from a leadership deficit. Reluctance to answer God’s call to lead is fueled by debilitating feelings of inadequacy, weakness and fear.
Such was the case with Moses, one of the most notable leaders in history. Exodus 3-4 records his conversation with God. God directs Moses: “So now go. I am sending you…” (3:10). Moses objects with three questions. Three times God responds, drawing Moses into deeper connection with himself.
Moses’ first excuse is, “Who am I?” (3:11) I’m a nobody. What do I have to offer? What qualifications do I have?
God patiently responds to Moses’ feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness with the promise of his presence: “I will be with you.” He refocuses Moses’ attention from the one sent to the One who sends. The excellency of the instrument matters not. What is vital is the One whose hands employ the instrument. God knows that in yourself you are inadequate. It is not about who you are but whose you are. So step up to leadership; God will be there for you.
Moses shrank from God’s call because he felt weakness. “Who are you?” he asks (3:13). Who are you that you would send me? What kind of God are you?
God replies, identifying himself with the name “I AM.” A sentence needs only two things to be complete: a subject and a verb. So when God says his name is "I AM," it conveys the concept that he is complete in himself. He is subject and verb. He is everything we could possibly need. Does God’s call to leadership overwhelm you? Step into leadership with confidence in his sufficiency to overcome and overrule your shortcomings.
Finally, Moses protests to God, “What if” (4:1) no one responds to my leadership? What if my deficiencies humiliate me?
God answers Moses’ fear with an unexpected question: “What is that in your hand?” In his hand is a walking stick, something common to shepherds. God proceeds to demonstrate that he will use what Moses has—his abilities and inabilities—to perform feats that no mere man can do.
Our job is not to make things happen through our power or clever communication. It is to dedicate ourselves to God—abilities and inabilities—stepping out in obedience. It does not take a great person to be used of God, but it does take all there is of him.
God searches for leaders. When he does find a person faithful, available and teachable, God uses that person to the limit. With shortcomings and flaws, yes. Despite these, God uses them to do great things!
Ken Ediger is lead pastor at North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kan.