Are You Eager to Answer God's Call?
I love coaching my kids’ basketball teams. I’m coaching two different teams this year -- Annabelle’s team, which is comprised of all first graders and James’s team, which is all third graders. This means that every Tuesday night I get to interact with about 18 children that range from the ages of 7 to 9. As you might have guessed, each practice will require moments where I ask the kids a question. The question could be about the rules of basketball or the devotional that we cover each week. Regardless of the topic, there are plenty of questions. These moments have reminded me that there are two types of responses you tend to get from children at this age when they are asked a question. You either get the child that immediately raises their hand and blurts out an answer, sometimes even before the question is finished being asked. These are the eager children that want to be heard and be a part of the conversation. They are ever-ready to respond, even if they really don’t know the correct answer. Or you get the other reaction, which is the timid and shy child that rarely engages. Maybe they don’t even look up or they are distracted by something else. The last thing they want is to be called upon and to be asked to give an answer in front of their friends. If you haven’t taught kids before then perhaps you haven’t had the chance to observe these two different reactions.
Maybe, however, you remember which response you were more likely to offer when you were a child.
We often refer to these responses in terms of personality traits. We identify children or adults as extroverted or introverted. While there is truth to these tendencies within our personalities, there is another element to these responses I’d like to highlight. Part of what we are seeing is a display of self-confidence and self-doubt. Some children are so quick to raise their hands and engage in the dialogue as a result of an early expression of self-confidence. A boldness that is both demonstrative and innocent. The other response, however, reveals a child that would prefer to be out of the center of attention. A child that would rather say nothing at all than say something that’s wrong. It’s really interesting to see these responses and even more so, I believe they serve as an object lesson that helps us further consider how we respond when God speaks.
When God speaks and asks a question, with what eagerness do we respond? How many of us approach our faith with that same boldness that we see in these young children? Are we ready to raise our hand and use every possible gesture to convey to God, “Pick me! Pick me!” Or do we simply sit back and hope that someone else will give the answer. Do we hope that someone else will be pointed out and called upon? In short, are there moments when our faith is diminished and inhibited by our own self-doubt?
This is what we see in Moses through the first 17 verses of chapter 4 in the book of Exodus. Three times he expresses his doubt that the Israelites will believe him. The first two times he tries to subtly imply that he’s the wrong guy for this call that God has extended. The third time, he says it outright, “please send someone else.” Moses was crippled by self doubt. There he was in the midst of miracle upon miracle and still his self-doubt loomed larger in his mind than the power of God. As a result, the call was modified and changed.
I’m sure there are many examples of times where we all allowed our self-doubt to seem larger than the power of God. Consequently, our lives and the roles we’ve played in God’s plan have likely been modified. While God still used Moses, this passage teaches us that Moses’ response of self-doubt was not pleasing. It was not what God desired.
I wonder how our lives would change and how our church would change if we approached all that God was laying before us with the eagerness of a child-like faith. Let that be our goal today and the rest of this week, and really, for the rest of our lives. That our response would not be one crippled by doubt where we shy away and hope that He calls on someone else. Rather, let us live boldly. Let us live with excitement and eagerness to be called upon. Let us live a life that trusts in God’s power above our own. Let us be a people who listen when He speaks and may we eagerly respond, “Here I am! Send me!”