There is an old story about a man on passenger ship who was lying in his bunk during a storm, deathly seasick. Suddenly he heard the cry of “Man overboard.” The seasick man prayed, “God help the poor fellow—there is nothing I can do.” Then the thought came to his mind, “At least I could put this lantern in the porthole,” which he did. Amazingly, the drowning man was rescued, and recounting the story next day he said, “I was going down in the darkness for the last time when someone put a light in a porthole. It shone on my hand, and it gave me just enough light to grab the life preserver that was thrown out for me.”
Have you ever sounded like the seasick man in that story? “God can’t possibly use me I’m too weak.” “I have a checkered past and no one will take me seriously.” “Sorry, that’s just not my spiritual gift.” “Why would God use me, when there are all these other better qualified pros?”
That kind of thinking is very similar to the excuses Moses made while beating around the burning bush. But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). Translation—“God you don’t want me for this job of delivering your people. I’m damaged goods. I already tried this once and it didn’t end well!”
Moses’ had another excuse, “But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (Ex. 4:10). In other words, he said, “God you don’t want me I’ve got a stut…stut...stuttering prob…prob…a speech impediment.” Apparently, Porky Pig was more eloquent than Moses.
Moses used every excuse in the book to get God off his back—the excuse of identity, ignorance, inadequacy. In the end, we know that Moses finally got on board with God’s program once the Lord shot down all his cardboard excuses. Someone has said, “An excuse is nothing more than the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” We love to use excuses when God is calling us because somehow we think it gets us off the hook. But have you ever thought about what you are really telling God when you use a flimsy excuse? Essentially, you are telling Him, “I’m not available.”
I wonder how many people are living miserable lives right now because they refuse to do what God has told them to do. Instead of obeying God they try to come up with reasons why they shouldn't have to obey. Instead of trusting God's promise they trust their fears. What is God calling you to do today? What excuses have you offered Him? Bear in mind that the only requirement God has of us is availability. Any old bush will do, if you are available to God.
The truth is God didn’t need Moses’ help to free His people, any more than He needs any one of us to fulfill the Great Commission. Yet, mysteriously the Sovereign God chooses to use broken, weak people to accomplish His purposes on earth. The Lord picks the weak and the washed-up failures because when He does His work there’s no confusion where to give glory. It's time to stop saying, “I can't” and start saying, “He can.” -DM