31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
September 30, 2018
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
God said, “Go”, and Abraham, trusting God, went.
God’s ‘go’ to Abraham’s great-grandson, Joseph, was not as clear. It came through visions and dreams and unfortunate circumstances. Still, Joseph trusted that God was with him on this journey.
Moses, like his ancestors Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, was also called by God to go. Like with Abraham, God’s calling to Moses was simple and clear. First an angel of the Lord appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of a bush” (Exodus 3:2). Then when Moses turned to look at the burning bush, God called out Moses’ name. Twice! And then God clearly said to Moses, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10).
“Come, I am sending you.” But Moses was not like his ancestor Abraham. When God said go, Moses did not. And Moses was not like his ancestor Joseph, singing “God bless the broken road that brings me straight to where you want me, Lord.” When God said to Moses “Come, I will send you.”, Moses began to make excuses.
There are five in total: I lack authority (3:13); I’m afraid the people will not believe me (4:1); I don’t speak very well (4:10); I’m afraid – can’t you send someone else? (4:13); and the one we heard this morning, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (3:11)
“Who am I?” I have no authority. “Who am I?” I have no status. “Who am I?” I am a nobody.
God says, “Go”, and Moses says, “I can’t. I’m a nobody.” And Moses is not alone in how he feels. Far too many of us have heard God’s call to love God and love our neighbor and have responded, “Who am I?” I’m not someone with a lot of money or resources. I’m not someone with a lot of spare time. I’m not someone with the ability to paint or fix stuff or lead or visit. “Who am I?” I’m nobody.
In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson, writes:
“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”
Who are you? Who am I? We are children of God. We were made in God’s image. We were meant to shine and make manifest the glory of God that is within us. That is who we are!
Sometimes, though, it is hard to trust that. The world around us tells us in so many ways that we don’t have the right skills; that we don’t have enough money; that we don’t have enough everything; that we are nobody.
That’s what Moses was hearing. He was a man dependent on his father-in-law to earn a living for his family; he was a man in hiding; his anger had caused him to make the biggest mistake a person can make. Moses had killed someone.
Each excuse Moses offered up to God for why he was not the right person for the job was an objection based on his past. He could not be trusted. Didn’t God know that?! Look at what Moses had done. Look at what he hadn’t been able to do.
Who was Moses? He was a nobody.
No. No. God doesn’t make junk. God doesn’t make nobodies. God made Moses. God chose Moses. Each and every one of us is a precious child of God, uniquely made with just the right gifts for the journey, for the ministry God is calling us to. We need to trust ourselves, and even when we cannot, we need to trust God. If God is calling you to go, then go. Go, trusting that God knows what God is doing and God has chosen just the right person.
We are allowed to hold on to our fear; we are allowed to make our excuses for why we cannot go when God calls. God has also blessed us with free will, so we can choose to refuse, choose to stay when God says “Go”.
But what we cannot do is make the excuse that we are not good enough. We cannot say, “Who am I to serve on Christian Education?” “Who am I to mentor a child?” “Who I am to sing in the choir?” “Who am I to make visits to our homebound or to visit for the stewardship annual campaign?” “Who I am to serve the homeless and hungry through Brian’s Angels, Agape House, Meals for Neighbors, and Family Promise?”
Who are you? Who am I? We are children of God. We were made in God’s image. We were meant to shine and make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
We were meant to share our blessings with others, transforming the world with Christ’s love. That is who we are!
And when we can get past our fear, get past our feelings of insecurity and deficiency, when we can get past all of that stuff that holds us back, and say “Yes” to God’s call, we discover that there is incredible joy in loving God and loving our neighbor; incredible joy in sharing our blessings with others. Saying yes to God’s call multiples our blessings; multiples our joy.
The Rev. John Dorhauer, the President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ, in his Podcast wonderfully titled “The Hard Yes” said, “Every yes will change a life or lives or community or the world. The partnership is about nothing less than God having created us and endowed us with gifts and talents and passions and skills and experiences – saying ‘I can use those here’….And your yes, becomes a grace or a comfort or a solace or a corrective or an insight that matters to someone.”
Trust God. Trust yourself, and say yes. Take the journey and be God’s agent of love; Be God’s agent of peace; Be God’s agent of joy; Be God’s agent of blessing in the world.