EBWU Conference - Lisbon, Portugal - 10-13 October 2024

What is in your hand?

By Alexandra Anderson (1st of May 2019)

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. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” (Exodus 4: 2-5)

Recently in the news we have heard a lot about Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old school girl from Sweden who has been campaigning to raise awareness about climate change and to lobby governments to do something about the impact it is having on the environment. Greta’s deep sense of purpose and perseverance puts the churches’ often feeble attempts at sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbours to shame.

Should we be concerned about our world as Christians? I think so. God has made us stewards of this planet. It is not ours we simply look after it and hand it on to the next generation and yet many of us feel it is not our concern. Many of us feel powerless to do anything about the impact the exploitation of natural resources and pollution is having on our environment.

Exodus chapters 3 and 4 introduce us to a reluctant Moses who doubts he is up to much and yet he is the man that God chooses to change the history of the world, becoming the leader and in effect ‘saviour’ of God’s people. In spite of all his self-doubt and inadequacies God calls Moses just as he is.

According to Pastor Rick Warren in his book ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, the telling words, ‘What is that in your hand? (v.2)’, are perhaps the most important words we can ever ask ourselves as Christians. Because, what ever it is that we have ‘in our hand’ when we surrender it to God, God can use it for his mighty purposes. He can bring it to life in the most incredible and unimaginable ways. What do we have in our hand? Is it education, talent, influence, networks, wealth, the ability to speak, make cakes, encourage, show hospitality ? Whatever it is – if we throw it down before God he will bring it to life for his kingdom.

Greta Thunberg is just an ordinary teenager. She isn’t exceptional in anything in particular and yet she has impacted the world to do something to arrest the relentless pace of global warming and the impact that is having on the world. What is so special about Greta? Nothing, except her passionate concern for the environment, her conviction that something can be done and her courage to act.

Moses’ staff might seem like something insignificant – just an ordinary stick, but it is the symbol of Moses’ identity – he is a pastor, a shepherd. It is also a symbol of his wealth. In the days when there were no bank accounts or credit cards everything he had was invested in this flock. But the staff is also the symbol of his authority, his influence. With the staff Moses could prod and poke the sheep and drive or lead them where he wanted them to go. Moses throws everything he has and everything he is before God and God transforms him into the leader of a people that he never dreamed he could be. Dear Sisters I want to ask you the same question, ‘What is in your hand?’, and how are you using it to make this world a better place and bring glory to God?