Moses has been in my thoughts in recent days. Last week, I was honored and delighted to be called to serve in a part-time ministry position at St. John United Methodist, where I have found my church home here in West Virginia. This past year, like Moses, I had a few “burning bush” moments that eventually led me to this call.
I had been invited to serve as a Sunday school and small group coordinator back in January. Serving in this way refueled my excitement and passion to serve. My plans had been to write a memoir about God’s love for me during my time with cancer, but I began to wonder if I was meant to set this project aside for the present time and serve in ministry once again. I have been given a second chance to live, and I want to do all I can with my life and gifts in gratitude to God.
Then, this past Sunday, Pastor Michael’s sermon message clearly brought this home to me. Using the passage from James 4:13-17, he invited us to consider how- when we realize that life is short and uncertain, when we see that all of life is a gift from God- we are inspired to embrace the abundant life by humbly and obediently sharing our gifts to further God’s kingdom. All of these burning bush moments led me to this new ministry in which I am blessed to serve.
But shortly after I received this call, I attended a meeting where it became apparent that I have MUCH to learn. I don’t know the people and ministries as well as others do. I don’t know all the ways and policies of the Methodist church. I wasn’t aware of all the needs I would be asked to address. I came away from the meeting feeling quite inadequate and overwhelmed. So once again my thoughts turned to Moses during my morning walk yesterday.
I remembered the times when Moses felt inadequate. God always provided. He told God his doubts about his speaking abilities and God supplied Aaron to speak for him. When the Israelites complained to Moses about their hunger, God supplied quail and manna. As long as Moses held up his hands (with the staff of God) while the Israelites were in battle, they were successful. When Moses became weary, Aaron and Hur came to support his arms for him. All along the wilderness way, God provided, sustained and helped Moses and his people.
It came to me that I already have some “Aarons” in my life. I have a supportive and caring pastor and staff. I have dear friends at St. John who have already offered to help me. I have my loving husband who encourages and helps me in countless ways. Most of all, I have my loving God who will provide and sustain me, too.
We receive a gift in painfully recognizing our inadequacies: we understand how deeply and totally we need God. I know that I will need to entrust myself and my ministry to God, every day. I know I will need to count on others and even call on others to help. I know that ministry is NOT about me or my abilities, but how selflessly, humbly and faithfully I can help ALL of us serve God and one another in loving community.
I walked on, feeling God and Moses working on my heart and soul- blessing me, comforting me, and encouraging me. And then I turned the corner and saw this on the back of a car:
Isn’t God SO good- and funny?! I laughed all the way home. Thank you, God.
And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner. (Exodus 17:15)