“And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.'” — Exodus 3:12
Mike Tomlin hasn’t always been a head coach. His journey started in the the Boys and Girls Club, where he learned how to compete in the proper way. Then he had good training when he played college football at William and Mary, and he eventually became an assistant coach at several colleges and in the NFL before he was hired as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. It took time and training.
Likewise, Moses wasn’t always a great leader. Moses expected to live in Midian and keep his father-in-law’s sheep for the rest of his life. He was 80 years old and most people don’t make major changes at that point in life. Suddenly, God came to where he was and appeared inside a burning bush (Exodus 3). When Moses saw the unusual sight, he was startled and amazed as the bush burned brightly but was not turning to ashes (Exodus 3:3).
Moses turned toward the bush and God spoke out loud to him because He intended for Moses to change his occupation and place of residence to become a spiritual leader. In order to emphasize the sacredness of the task — and to help Moses understand God’s power — the Lord came personally to share His plans with Moses. When Moses worked 40 years as a shepherd, he probably didn’t realize that tough times and manual labor are some of the best ways to learn the humility and perseverance needed for longterm, effective ministry. He didn’t realize he was training for his calling.
God called Moses by name. The Lord knows all the people in the world, and can raise up spiritual leaders at any moment to lead others. When Moses was called, he felt unqualified and even hesitated because he didn’t think he was a good enough speaker. But the Lord knew better.
Until that moment, God had been molding and shaping Moses to live a life of maturity, integrity and purity. It usually takes many years for someone to grow and learn enough to be a spiritual leader. Moses wasn’t ready to be a leader when he was younger and had a hot temper. But God enlisted him for a special purpose when he knew Moses was ready (even if Moses didn’t feel that way), and Moses obeyed. Because of his obedience, Moses was transformed and honored by God. He got to talk with God, face to face, and became one of the greatest leaders in history.
At the end of Moses life, he predicted the coming of Christ — who would be greater than Moses. “The Lord said to me: ‘What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name'” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).
Don’t overlook your own training, even in the seemingly mundane or the difficult seasons in life. Tough times and training seasons can be used by God to mold and shape you to carry out His plan for your life. Your “yes” to God may change the lives of many as you point them to Christ.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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