One of the most fascinating stories from scriptures is also one of the most important—the scene at the burning bush where Moses was first called by God to return from his exile and lead the children of Israel out of slavery and into the promised land.
In Exodus 3, you can read the whole story of how a bush that had caught fire—and was furiously blazing, yet would not be consumed—became the focus of God’s call to Moses. There is one small detail I’d like to look at here.
At one point in the story, God asks Moses, “What is that in your hand?” Moses responds, “It is a stick.” And then God says, “Throw it down.”
Now it wasn’t just a stick; it was his shepherd’s rod—the indispensable tool that every shepherd carried. It was used to herd the sheep and protect them. It was used as a climbing stick. It was a symbol of who Moses was; a form of identification. And since Moses was tending a flock that did not belong to him, it may well have been the only thing of value that was actually his.
“Throw it down,” God said to Moses. And with those simple words, God called him away from the things that had defined his life as a fugitive, an exile—and called him back to his real purpose and destiny. Before Moses could become the leader that would save Israel, it would be necessary for him to give up whatever was in his hand defining him as a shepherd and depend solely on God’s divine power.
So Moses threw down that stick. And the future of the world was changed forever.
In fact, God had no intention of asking Moses to leave behind those things that defined him. The task God had in mind for Moses would require every bit of his talent, his training, his wisdom, his experience—even his shepherd’s stick would eventually be used to part the waters of the Red Sea. But God was asking Moses to depend on Him—completely.
If his hands were full of other things—regardless of their significance—Moses would not be able to achieve the things that God needed him to do.
What’s in your hand? Only you can answer that question. Is whatever you carry with you all of the time impeding the work of God in your life? Is it an attitude? A set of questions or doubts? Unresolved anger? Disappointment? Frustration?
Or is it self-sufficiency? Authority? Privilege? Knowing that you are right? Unwillingness to risk depending on someone else?
When we come to God, He asks us to empty ourselves, empty our hands. It is the dependence on His strength that reawakens our true strengths. It is recognition of His wisdom that transforms our wisdom. It is by placing our lives in His hands that the work of our own hands can be divinely blessed.
I seek to place myself in God’s hands every single day—but to do so, I must be willing to throw aside that which I hold in my own hand. For me, this is the daily struggle of faith—and one that is transformative in the way I live.
And in our professional lives, this ministry of healing that we set about to accomplish every day, what is in our hands? Regardless of what it is—resources, skill, experience, authority—our first task is to respond to the Divine directive: throw it down. Give it back to God. And then let Him lead in placing in our hands and within our reach, those things that can be used to fulfill our mission, achieve our goals, and bring His purposes to pass.