Criticize by Creating
When God called Moses to deliver the ancient Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, "Moses answered, '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.'"1 This was to confirm to Moses that God was the miracle worker and Moses only God’s agent.
On one occasion, I believe it was to the evangelist Dwight Moody, a woman said, "Mr. Moody, I don't like the way you do your evangelism."
To which Moody replied, "I don't particularly like the way I do it either. How do you do it?"
The lady replied, "I don't do it."
"Well I like the way I’m doing it better than the way you’re not doing it," Moody answered.
Moody's answer may have been somewhat blunt but he made a good point. In more youthful days I was invited to a planning session for the college-age youth group in the church I was attending at the time. They asked for my opinion about what I felt was not working and how their program could be improved. I said, "I don't feel I have a right to criticize if I am not willing to do something about it." So guess what? I was made the new program director!
It's very easy for all of us (including myself) to sit back and criticize our group, church, politicians, leaders, etc., etc., and not do anything about it.
Michelangelo had a great answer. He said, "Criticize by Creating." True, most of us will never be a Michelangelo and none of us can do everything—but every one of us can do something no matter how small to help the world we live in become a better place in which to live.
And none of us will ever be called to do what God called Moses to do. But in essence God says to every one of us: "What is that in your hand?" That is, "What ability do you have?" Whatever it is, God wants and expects us to use it to serve Him—and we serve Him by serving others.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the gifts and abilities You have given to me. Help me to know what they are and find a place to use them in loving service to You and others—always for Your glory and not mine. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Exodus 4:1-2 (NIV).