What’s In Your Hand?

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit . . . faith.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

Several years ago, I strayed from God’s purpose in my life. Like Moses, I had become guilty of great sin and ran from my calling. We don’t often think of Moses as a sinful man, but it is important to remember that before God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he had murdered a man. The reason Moses had fled into the wilderness in the first place is that Pharoah was seeking to put Moses to death for his crime.

Like Moses, I had been confronted with my own guilt, and I feared punishment. I hadn’t yet learned to trust God with my life. Each of us, in our own way, looks for a place to run when we get into trouble. We run from people, we run from our families, we run from our communities–but in any situation in which we find ourselves running, the One from whom we are actually running is God.

However, no matter where we run, it is impossible to escape God’s eye. The Bible says, “If I ascend into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” Wherever we run, God finds us.

Moses hid from his troubles for 40 years. During that time, he met shepherds in the wilderness of Midian and married into their family. He took a job watching over his father-in-law’s sheep. As he was tending the flock, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and God gave Moses specific instructions about his purpose and calling.

God told Moses to leave the wilderness–where he was hiding–and return to Egypt.

It took 40 years of running before God knew that Moses was ready to finish the work to which he was called. Several decades earlier, Moses had fled from Egypt because he was afraid for his life, but when God spoke to Moses from the flames of the burning bush, Moses understood that there was a power more deserving of fear than Pharoah–the Power of God.

Years ago, when I first found myself alone in the wilderness, I began reading the Bible, and I was reading this story about Moses and the burning bush. Like Moses, I knew that I had sinned against God by straying from His will for my life.

I distinctly remember sitting in my office one day, reading the story of the burning bush on my laptop. Moses was ready to do what God wanted him to do, but he was afraid that the people wouldn’t believe the message that God had given him. He asked God, “What if they don’t believe me? What if they think that I’m lying when I tell them that God has appeared to me?”

God asked Moses, “What is in your hand?” It was then that Moses looked to see the famous staff that was later used to work miracles in the presence of Pharoah, to part the waters of the Red Sea, and to bring water from the rock in the desert.

As I read this story on my computer screen, God asked me the same question: “What is in your hand?” I looked down and saw my fingers resting on the keys of my laptop. I didn’t know how God could use my fingers and a laptop to fulfill His will through me, but I began to believe that, somehow, God would finish what He had started in me.

God imparts various gifts to His people. God places specific talents in each of us that He will use to glorify His name. You see, Moses was not a shepherd in Egypt. Rather, he became a shepherd during the 40 years of his “running away” in the wilderness. Later, God used the skills Moses had acquired–during his own experience as a sheep that had strayed–to deliver God’s flock from bondage.

Likewise, God taught Peter how to use nets to catch fish for several years before Jesus said to him, “Put down your nets, and I will teach you how to fish for men.”

What has God placed in your hand? How has God prepared you to be useful in His kingdom? Not only do we all have special talents and skills that we can use to build God’s church, but he also imparts to each of us a spiritual gift that He places within us to edify the Body of Christ.

We do not all have the same spiritual gifts, and we do not all have the gifts in the same measure, but it is important to know what gift God has placed in your hands so that you can use it to fulfill His purpose in you. Do you know what spiritual gift God has given you? If not, you may want to look at 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

God has given me more than one spiritual gift, but the gift that I am learning to cherish most is the gift of faith. You may not feel that you have the gift of faith, and that is okay. God has apportioned a greater slice of faith to me, and I am responsible to use the faith that God has given me “for the common good.” This means that when I use this laptop that God has placed in my hands to share my gift of faith with you, God will impart to you the ability to use your gift to bless me, too.

Like Moses, I often fear that people will not listen to what God says through me. I ask God, “But what if they do not believe that God has spoken to me?” Though it is not always easy, I am learning that I cannot live in fear that others will not believe what the Holy Spirit is saying to them. Instead, I must commit myself to God’s work with the faith that God has supplied to fulfill His purpose in me–and in you.

There are gifts you have that I do not have, and there are gifts that I have that you do not have. God has divided His gifts among us so that we will learn to depend upon each other. As the Body of Christ, we need to care for each other. Nobody is without need. As I use my gift to bless you, I trust God that you, too, will use your gifts to bless me. This is how God has called us to love one another.

Today, seek God’s voice in the burning bush. Notice the gifts God has placed within your hands, and use them to bless your people.

[If you need to speak to someone about using the gifts God has given you, click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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