Did you know you were made for more? Jesus said that we would do greater things than even He did during His earthly ministry. It’s true. Sadly, many of us never step into what God has prepared long ago. We allow our fears to dictate our steps. We make up excuses for not stepping out. We think that others have a ministry, but we don’t have our own ministry. For others, it simply is a matter of not being all in when it comes to walking with Jesus.
Each of us has a ministry. If you think you don’t have a ministry because your spouse is in ministry, that’s incorrect. You each have a ministry role. Each of you have important roles. If you don’t reach out in faith because you believe you are limited, realize that you have the Spirit of God living within you. That is the MOST POWERFUL FORCE in the world inside you! The Holy Spirit with equip you and empower you (Romans 15:13). Simply show up. You have an important ministry.
If you have a list of excuses as to why you don’t do something, consider the reason for the excuses. Are these excuses justified? Maybe you don’t show up to Bible study because you don’t feel like you know enough about the Bible. Guess where you should be then? Bible study. Maybe you don’t help out with the mission work because you feel unqualified. Who is qualified? No one is qualified by their own merits. God alone qualifies (2 Corinthians 3:5). Perhaps you don’t attend church because you feel unworthy. Everyone who attends church is unworthy. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It is only because Jesus died on the Cross that we can approach God.
Today, remember you were made for more. Reach out for the more. Don’t stand for less. God is a big God and He has big plans. Embrace them.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NIV]
There are people who do everything on their own, relying on self all of the time. These people are the independent people. They might say, “Look what I have done” or “I have to do everything myself if I want it done.” Then there are people who are dependent people. There are those who recognize that they are dependent on God (truth is we all are dependent on God), and then there are those who are dependent for everything. These are the people who will not move a finger because someone will do it for them. The first example that comes to mind is someone who enables another from growing through a situation because the dependent person plays the victim card. Another example is someone who loses a job and says, “God will get me another job” but never even attempts to fill out an application.
In today’s passage we read about Joseph approaching Joshua. The people want more land for their inheritance because they do not have a large enough area for their tribe. They ask why they were only given one portion. Joshua tells the people to go up and clear an area for themselves. The response isn’t, “Okay, we shall do that then.” The people of Joseph respond by stating again that their land isn’t enough, and that the Canaanites have chariots. Joshua had to restate what the tribe of Joseph shall do to get what they were promised.
There are moments when we are to wait on God to move but then there are moments when we are to act in faith, trusting that God will be faithful. We need to recognize the importance of listening for God’s voice so we are able to know when to wait and when to move. When we are led to move, we must move. You shall. God is with you. You shall.
“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” – Joshua 17:14-18
We so often focus on our own strength—what we can do on our own. In Exodus 4, Moses pleaded with God because he wasn’t “very good with words.” He told the Lord, “I never have been” (NIV). Those four words touch home. I could say I have never been one with good penmanship. I have never been one who could do math in my head. I have never been….
A few verses later, Moses gets a promise from God—a promise that we all receive. God says,” I will be with you” (NLT) or “I will help you” (NIV). We aren’t alone. We are not supposed to consider things with our own strength in mind. We were never meant to do life alone.
So God has left us this promise. He is with us. He will not forsake us. He will help us. He will strengthen us. He will uphold us. He will provide for us. Therefore, do not focus on the “I never have beens” in your life—focus on Him. Focus on what you can do through Him. Remember, you are not in this alone.
“But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’” – Exodus 4:10 [NLT]
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”– Matthew 2:13-15 [NIV]
Joseph was told to “Get up” in 2:13 and we read a verse later, “So he got up.” We don’t read of excuses. We don’t read of Joseph doing anything else other than obeying the word of God. Again in verse 20, he is told to “Get up.” Once again in verse 21, it says, “He got up.” Again there is no discussion about Joseph making excuses or doing anything else other than obeying the word of God.
Joseph is a great example of a man who walked in faithful obedience. After a visit from an angel, he married Mary despite considering the possibility of sending her away quietly because of her pregnancy. Now we see him not once, but twice, relocating at the snap of a finger.
Is God calling you to “Get up”? Is God pointing you in a particular direction? If so, is your response to follow? Are you sitting and constructing a list of excuses and other alternatives? Are you dragging your feet? Today, consider what God is calling you to do right now. It might not be something simple or something welcomed—but perhaps there’s something God is working out within His big picture of life that we cannot grasp.
When reading Exodus 3-4, we find God calling Moses. Most people can remember the burning bush. Like all of us, God created Moses for a purpose. Moses was to lead God’s chosen people out of Egypt. In 3:10, after Moses answers God with “Here I am” and hears of God’s concern for His people and their suffering, and the promise of rescue and “a land flowing with milk and honey,” God tells Moses , “So now, go.” Yet, Moses does not go. There is excuse after excuse given. Who am I? What is Your name? What if they don’t believe me? I cannot speak so well. In 4:12, again God says, “Now go” and He promises to help Moses. Still, Moses says, “Please send someone else” (v. 13).
It is interesting to see the exchange between God and Moses. When we see dozens of verses later that God is still trying to get Moses to go do what He asked, it is safe to say that we all have been in that same position. We all have a pile of excuses that we have given God. It could be something like, “Well I didn’t have enough time to read my Bible today” or “I was too tired to pray last night before bed.” Maybe it sounds something like this: “You want me to go back to school but I’m making good money at the job I have now.” Perhaps it is “I have too much on my plate now. There is no way I can serve the church.” There are likely millions of excuses I could list here. We all make them.
When Moses finally moves forward as God commanded, it is easily seen that God is with him. Everything God said is true. God is faithful. Moses gave excuses to God on being used as a vessel for God’s glory to accomplish God’s plan. We give the same excuses. But remember, it is God’s plan. He is faithful. If He has given you something to do, He has given you everything you need to get it done. His plans will not be thwarted. As you go through your day today, if you feel God leading you, don’t give an excuse. Show up for duty. When you show up for duty, you find that He already has done the hard part.
This morning it was drizzling but I still faithfully took my dog for a walk. As we continued up the street, I noticed that there was a newspaper that was poking through the plastic covering that the delivery person used for protection. In a quick moment, I passed by thinking that the newspaper would get all wet and perhaps I should pick it up and put it under the safety of the porch roof. But instead, I did nothing. I left it where it was and made excuses as to why I could not do that simple act. As I was a few blocks away, I started to feel regretful for not taking the opportunity that was right before me. It was a simple act of love that did not happen.
I think that too often there are opportunities presented to you and I, and I personally know that there are times in my life when I make excuses to not take action. I have heard many excuses as to why help cannot be given to someone, to the church, to a family in need, to a cause. Though this world is a hectic place and our schedules get busy, I think of how Jesus was walking toward one person when another person came in need of help. The lady reached out and touched His garment, and although He was on His way to pay a visit to the daughter of Jairus, He stopped and spoke to this woman (Mark 5). I remember how even after He was teaching at Capernaum and most likely tired from a busy day, He went back to Peter’s house to settle, only to still continue healing and reaching out to help others (Mark 1).
We will not always reach out. We will find ourselves making excuses. We will say we are too tired, too overwhelmed, too busy, too focused elsewhere, too unworthy, too untrained, too afraid. The list could go on and on with excuses I’ve given or heard. Thank God that He never makes excuses.
Today I encourage you to be the person who puts the newspaper on the porch. I pray that when you notice that you are making excuses for something that you can easily do before you walk away so that later you won’t be feeling guilty that you did not do more. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Do not neglect to do what is good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]