How often have you heard someone say, “Oh if only I had...” How often have you said yourself, “If only I had more money…(or more time…or talent…)…if only I were more like so and so, what wouldn’t I do for people. I would change the world, if only. But, I’m not gifted…what can I do with my poor skills, my limited abilities”?
It is an old complaint, an old excuse. Over four thousand years ago, Moses tried by the same route to evade God’s challenge to free His people. “If only I were able, Lord, but I am nobody, a nomad shepherd. No one would listen to me.” But God would have none of that. His answer was immediate and unescapable, a question. “What have you in your hand?”
He asks of us the same challenging question. In Moses’ case, it was a staff, the everyday part of the shepherd’s equipment. But cast upon the ground it changed into a serpent, then back into a staff when Moses picked it up—a symbol of the power of God in his hand, power to part the Red Sea waves, power to bring water from the desert rock, to bring victory to the army of Israel in battle with their enemies. Each of us has something—a special personal gift. God never sends His workers out without tools for the job. Usually, they are the ordinary tools we used from day to day. For David it was his slingshot and five smooth stones from the brook. For a little lad listening to Jesus on the grassy shore of the Sea of Galilee, it was the lunch his mother packed for him—five loaves and two small fishes. George Washington Carver looked into his hand and found a peanut, and thousands of babies in the heart of Africa were saved from starvation by the milk he made from it. And that was only one of hundreds of products he discovered, that made peanut farming profitable and changed the whole economy of the southern United States.
Thanksgiving time is swiftly approaching. This year, let us put aside our “if only’s” and thank God for the special gift He has given to each of us—a listening ear, a word of appreciation, concern for another’s need. Thank God truly, by using what we find in our hands, in joyful, loving service.
Shalom, Pastor Dan Congleton, Interim Pastor