I still remember a message I heard at one of the commencement exercises I attended at my Bible college. I believe it was Dr. Bob Cook from The Kings College who addressed the audience that day. He took as his passage from the Bible Exodus 5:15 - 6:1 where Moses saw the aftermath of his going to Pharaoh and demanding that he let the Israelites go. Read the passage and you'll see that Pharaoh's response was hardly what Moses was looking for. Pharaoh came down even harder on the Israelite slaves making their lives an even greater misery. The people of Israel blamed Moses for this reaction of Pharaoh and Moses, himself, was really upset with what was happening. Moses complained to the Lord.
5:22-23 - "So Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.'" Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Here's Moses doing what God had called him to do and finding "no success" in his work, not seeing God answer prayer, and even having the people of Israel thoroughly upset with him. He really felt he had made a mistake and God shouldn't have sent him. He wasn't up to the task.
Umm, what did Moses think? He wasn't "up to the task?" Dr. Cook used this illustration to remind us that God calls us to serve Him but He doesn't call us to do so in our own strength. He actually uses our calling to show us we are nothing! He wants us not to rely on our own selves to accomplish God's work. Note, it's God's work, not ours.
Exodus 6:1 - "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Now you will see what I will do.'" What was Moses going to see? He wouldn't see what he could do. He would see what God could do. He was learning to be "a nothing" and to see that God's work is all about God, not Moses. And Dr. Cook wanted us to see that our future ministries were not about us doing God's work, but God doing God's work through us, we who were nothing to ourselves so God could be seen as the source of power in our lives.
Note John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13. The first passage says, "...for without Me you can do nothing." The second passage says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It's not me working for God. It's God working through me. I am a nothing - God is everything. And that is one of the important lessons of discipleship.
Have you ever noticed how much emphasis we place on "following" when we talk about discipleship? We instruct Christians how to be good followers, but we need to remember that Christ is our Leader and He leads us as Our Shepherd.
John 10:14 says, "I am the good Shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own." This focuses on the personal nature of the relationship Jesus has with each one of His followers. He is fully aware of us, "...I know My sheep..." He knows us as the unique individuals we are and He leads us in equally unique ways. Spend time in Psalm 139 again and note the emphasis on how well God knows everyone!
1 Peter 2:25 speaks of Jesus as "...the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." As our Shepherd Jesus is the One who takes charge of our lives and literally oversees our ministries. He is the One who knows where to put us, how to use us, and in what special ways He can work through us. Do you see how important it is to "let Him lead?" As much as we are to follow Him, He takes the greater responsibility to lead. And when He does lead we need not worry where He puts us, what responsibilities He gives us, and what resources He has to provide for us. He does the leading expertly. Let Him lead!