There have been a couple of times in my life when Jesus felt it was time to have a talk. In fact, I have a special name for those occasions. I call them “Cut the Crap” Conversations. I apologize if the language offends you, but it conveys the essence of God’s feelings toward my state at the time we have a serious conversation of this nature. One of those talks immediately preceded my decision to return home and begin to follow my call into ministry. You may be familiar with this kind of conversation with God. Moses has one at the burning bush.
(Image courtesy of uncyclopedia.wikia.com)
Allow me to set the scene for you. Despite an edict from Pharaoh to kill all the infant male children of the Israelites, Moses managed to survive and be raised within Pharaoh’s own house. He grew up and prospered before witnessing the oppression of his real people, the Israelites, at the hands of the Egyptians. He snaps and murders an Egyptian who is beating an Israelite. Then he flees into the wilderness of Midian before staring a new life there. I suppose Moses thought that he would just live out the rest of his life in Midian, married and raising children while working as a shepherd. This was not, however, God’s plan. So the Lord appeared to Moses on the mountain side in a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire in order to reveal the presence of the Lord. Once God establishes who he is and that Moses needs to remove his sandals when standing on holy land in the presence of God, Moses is informed that he will be the means by which God frees his people from Egypt. Moses is not on board with this idea. He doesn’t want to go back to Egypt, for good reason, and he has no interest in challenging Pharaoh for the sake of the Israelites. Moses has a decent life right here in Midian and he opts to pass on the generous offer to be a prophet for God despite all the benefits, like angering masses of people and making you the enemy of political powers with mighty military forces at their command.
This is when Moses starts to put a barrier, a pile of crap, between himself and God, specifically God’s plans for him. Moses offers five excuses why he cannot do what God wants. He claims that he is no one worthy (Exodus 3:11). Then he claims he doesn’t even know God’s name (Exodus 3:13). He will also argue that the Israelites will not listen to him or believe him (Exodus 4:1). Moses claims that his speech impediment will be too great to overcome for this task (Exodus 4:10). Finally, he pleads with God to just send someone else (Exodus 4:13). This is a big wall of excuses and God has immense patience for Moses and his garbage. I would have started looking for help elsewhere after excuse number two, but God would not be swayed. He does get angry (Exodus 4:14), but God does not yield his demand. Moses will go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. In essence, God tells Moses to cut the crap and get busy.
The longer I’m in ministry the more I find that we make these “Cut the Crap” conversations necessary. We have excuses (crap), reasons (crap), explanations (crap), and historical experiences (crap) all about why we can’t. God doesn’t want to hear that. God doesn’t want to look at you and watch you shovel crap in front of you so that you claim you can’t go there and do this because you have this pile of stuff preventing you. Perhaps we think that if God is serious, then God will magic away all that crap we pile up, but, instead, God just makes us crawl over our pile of crap to accomplish God’s will.
For every argument Moses put forth, God countered with what Moses will do to overcome it. You’re not worthy? Ok. I’m coming with you. You don’t know my name? Fine. Here it is. You say they won’t listen to you? Then I’ll give you miraculous signs. You think your speech is a problem? I will tell you what to say. You just want me to move along and ask someone else? No, I’m sending your brother, Aaron, along for the ride. You two will do this together. Now… GET GOING! And you know what? Moses does. But he needed this little conversation to play out. He needed to give all his excuses, pile them up before him one shovel at a time, just so that God could say “cut the crap and go.”
That brings us back to you. So what kind of piles have you been making? What is your preferred type of manure? It is excuses about stress? Too busy? Too old? Too young? Physically unable? Afraid? Don’t know how to begin? Don’t have the financial stability? You can’t just quit because you’re the bread winner? Scared of how far you’ll have to go? “We tried this once and it didn’t work then, so what makes you think it’ll work now?” Just be careful what you pile up there, because you’ll have to work through all of those fears, those anxieties, those issues once God has this talk with you. Or you could learn from Moses and start moving those excuses out of the way, shovel the crap to the side, and get down to business now, before God ends this little talk with a big slice of humble pie.
Me? Well, I apparently really like the taste of humble pie.