I know that you’re probably reading this in September, so welcome to Autumn! I say that with my tongue firmly in my cheek, since our thermometer says that it’s currently 97 degrees outside...
No, it’s not Autumn in my mind until Sunday School starts back up -- and that won’t be until September 13 this year (so make sure to mark your calendars and join us that Sunday at 9:00). In the meantime, it’s still Summer in my mind... and on my thermometer...
This Sunday, we held our annual Small Group Ministry Fair. Every year, we try to remind people about the awesome resource for Bible study and personal growth and fellowship already sitting in our church structure -- our small group Bible studies. Oh, you can have a sense of community through our Worship Services, and you can have a cross-demographic time of in-depth study in our Adult Sunday School, but the real meat of our ministry has always come through our small groups. That’s where we can really work through God’s Word together interactively, that’s where we can share our struggles and our praises with one another in interactive prayer and discussion time, and that’s where we build the strongest sense of community in our church family. Our small group members often eat together throughout the week, spend time in one another’s homes, and really develop that strong sense of family over time. If you’re not involved in a small group in our church, let me strongly encourage you to check one out.
In our message this week, we began a new series, looking at the life and ministry of the Lawgiver, Moses. Having just watched the recent movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, in preparation for this series, I was reminded of how much we tend to think that we know about Moses, compared to how much we actually know about Moses.
It sounds like simple details, really -- but details matter. We’re never told that Moses’ basket rode along the Nile’s dangerous currents (the basket was placed safely in the shallows of the reeds along the shore -- and, as far as we know, never moved an inch), we’re never told that Moses grew up as a Prince of Egypt and brother to Pharaoh (though he was adopted into the household of Pharaoh’s daughter -- in fact, we don’t even know which Pharaoh the Bible was talking about), we’re never told that he didn’t know that he was a Hebrew (he was raised by his own birth mother, and seemed to know that the slaves were his own people), and we’re never told that Moses was strong or great or respected or a leader or anything like that (in point of fact, even a slave mentions that he recognizes that Moses had no authority over him). It’s just that we assume that if Moses eventually did great things, then he must have been a great man. Isn’t that the way it works?
The fact is, Moses was perfectly qualified to be the one God chose to lead His people out of bondage -- not because of his strengths (though yes, he was a Hebrew and yet still familiar with the Egyptian court, etc.), but because he had so clearly already shown that he could never do it on his own. If Moses actually did turn out to be the deliverer, it would clearly be because of God, not because of Moses.
So -- as much as it pains me to say -- Moses was not Charlton Heston (though I’ll probably always still picture him that way). He wasn’t strong or well-spoken or authoritative or any of that. He was just a schmoe like you and me... and a failure at that.
So what is God calling a schmoe like you or me to do in our lives...?