Sometimes we see men who clearly have a mission in life and wonder how they got there. How did they know or recognize what mission to pursue? What triggered their interest? How were they equipped for it? Were they called?
We might ask, “What about me? What is my gift? What is my calling? What does God want ME to do?”
Over the years and through Bible study, I’ve noticed that the answer is closer than we think. Let’s take a look:
The key to finding your mission is easiest to see in Moses’ story. You are probably familiar with Moses—after his first forty years growing up as a prince in Egypt, he lived his second forty years in the desert, raising a family and tending sheep. But one day, he saw a bush in flames. He was curious, so he approached it. And then a voice came from the bush… and God gave Moses an assignment, a calling.
Moses hesitated—which is a nice way of saying he seriously balked. He gave five excuses why he wasn’t the guy for that calling. He didn’t want the mission to go back to Egypt to rescue the Hebrews from slavery… maybe it’s because he had become accustomed to being with the sheep. After all it had been forty years, and life had become predictable and peaceful—even if not necessarily fulfilling.
One excuse was that he wasn’t equipped. To that, God asked him a simple, important question: What is in your hand?
It was a staff—a rod—something that Moses used every day as a shepherd. Moses used it with sheep, but God was going to have him use that same, every-day rod to free a nation. God planned to use his shepherding skills as well as skills from his royal upbringing. After all, Moses would be shepherding, ruling, and administrating an entire nation.
God basically said, “Use what’s in your hand.” Use what you already have.
Think about this for a moment: If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has already given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and He has prepared something for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
When we think of Moses, what do we think of today? How do we describe him? As a leader, right? But with all those excuses, how could he be a leader? He didn’t want to do his assignment. He asked God to send someone else. But God had practical answers to each of Moses’ excuses and essentially said just one thing: you already have what it takes. I will be with you; go do it.
Before Moses entered the picture, the Bible tells us about Joseph. You can read his full story in Genesis 37 and 39-50. He was sold as a slave by jealous brothers. You wouldn’t think he would have a calling or mission under those circumstances, but he did. What was in Joseph’s hand? Administrative skills.
That was his spiritual gift, and he didn’t hide it just because he was a slave and worked for an enemy. He used his skill in Potiphar’s household and later in jail, when he was falsely accused of attempted rape. He used what was in his hand for thirteen years before God gave him a bigger mission. And that’s when Pharaoh also realized what was in Joseph’s hand and made Joseph second in command of the whole country. Joseph used his skill to save not only the people of Egypt from famine, but also Israel. He served relentlessly, and God was with him and blessed him. Others sat up and took notice!
Bezalel had something important in his hand, too. Do you know this man?
Exodus 31 records that God gave Bezalel special skills: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft’” (Exodus 31: 1-5 ESV).
While I’m fairly certain that Bezalel also used those skills to put food on the table, now he had a special mission. What was it? To build the tabernacle! God needed what was in an artist’s hand for this special task! It is reassuring that God uses all kinds of skills, spiritual gifts, training, experience, and interests to accomplish His work.
Your spiritual gift may also be your practical gift. So fulfill your calling—use the gift you already know you have, and do your mission!
What is in your hand?
David, like Moses, was a shepherd. He probably had a rod too, but that’s not what he is known for. He was a warrior! He was one who fiercely protected his sheep. The Bible states that he would run at a lion or bear that was attacking his sheep, grab it by the beard, and kill it—with his bare hands. He also honed some lethal skills with the slingshot. David was fierce and unafraid.
When David was only fourteen years old, his dad asked him to go visit his brothers—and that is where he challenged the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Rather than taking King Saul’s armor and weapons, which he had never used before, he took what was already in his hand: a slingshot (and stones). But his bravery, trust in God, and willingness to fight for God gave him his mission. God helped him in the wilderness, why not here?
So, what were the tools and experience in David’s hand when God needed a king? David was a shepherd and a fighter and, above all, he had tremendous faith in and love of God. God used everything David already was when He gave him his mission.
And because of all that, God called him to protect His sheep—the people of Israel (Psalm 78:70-72). David had the heart of a protector, a warrior. But in his early days, all he was doing—was hanging out with stinky, stupid sheep.
Feeding the 5,000
Now look in the New Testament: What did Jesus say to the disciples when evening was coming and the 5,000 people needed to be fed? He said, “You feed them.”
They pleaded—“Look, all we have is five loaves of bread and two fishes.”
Jesus said: “Fine, bring that here.” Then He prayed, and the food miraculously multiplied.
How did this happen? The disciples brought what they had and turned it over to Jesus. As God told Moses, Gideon, David, the disciples, and everyone else who seeks their mission: “You already have what it takes. I will be with you; go do it.”
Just use what is in your hand; develop what is in your hand. Your next assignment is coming.
So, men, if you want to know what your mission will be, where do you look first?
- What do you already have?
- What are your interests?
- What is your training?
- What experiences have you had?
- What is in your hand?
That’s what God is going to use. Let Him!