What Is Your Stick?
"Moses answered [God], 'What if they [the Israelites] do not believe me or listen to me and say, "The LORD did not appear to you"?' Then the LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A staff,' he replied. The LORD said, 'Throw it on the ground.' Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the LORD said to him, 'Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.' So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand."1
If you know Bible history, you will recall how the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for some 430 years and God was calling Moses to return to Egypt to confront Pharaoh to let God's people go. This was to deliver them from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land—the land that God had promised them many years before through Abraham, the father of the Israeli nation.
Because he wasn't good at speaking, Moses didn't feel that he would be able to take on this seemingly impossible task. So God challenged Moses by saying, "What is that in your hand?" and then performed an unusual miracle with Moses' stick. This was to ensure Moses that God would be with him to convince the Israelites that God had called him, and to assure Moses that God would perform any miracles needed to convince Pharaoh to ultimately let God's people go.
As an aside, last year Joy and I were in Egypt and when visiting the great pyramids, I couldn't help but wonder if the Israeli slaves were used to build or help build these massive structures. I asked our tour guide if this were possible and she didn't know.
Fast forward to today's world in which God has a work for you and me to do in each of the worlds in which we live. Unfortunately, many of us don't feel capable of doing anything significant for God and consequently sit back and virtually waste our lives by not fulfilling God's purpose for it. So God's question to each of us today is: "What is that in your hand?" Or to put it in local talk, "What is your schtick (or 'staff')?"
In other words, what God-given gifts do you have? What do you enjoy doing and do reasonably well? What would you like to be doing if you had the opportunity? These activities usually indicate what your stick is; that is, what gift or gifts that are in your hand. Whatever these are, be sure to put these abilities to good use in serving God, remembering that we serve God by serving people.
If you are a gifted teacher, then perhaps you could teach a Sunday school or Bible class. If you are a gifted speaker or writer, then look for ways to use these gifts to help spread the gospel and message of Jesus Christ. If you are good at encouraging people, then use this gift generously. You can serve through your local church, through local community services, by helping local or overseas missions, by helping with and supporting para-church organizations, by reaching out to a neighbor in need, by being a volunteer with a local service group—or in any of a hundred other productive ways.
Remember, too, that when you stand before Jesus and give an account of your life, be sure that you won't just stand there holding your schtick that appears as if it were just taken out of the gift box. With God's help, I hope that when this time comes for me, my schtick will appear to be almost completely worn out from having put it to productive use.
Suggested prayer: Dear God, thank you for the schtick (gift/s) you have placed in my hand. Help me to get the best training possible so I can make the best use of my stick for effective service, and to find ways to use my stick to serve and bring honor to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Exodus 4:1-4 (NIV).