For the next 6 weeks, our devotional series will focus on the movement from grumbling to gratitude to generosity. We all grumble. We complain, worry, fret, and even gripe on a daily basis. Sometimes that concern is shallow and petty; like picking the wrong check-out line at the store or getting cut off in traffic and other times that grumbling is deeper and more substantial as we consider matters in our personal lives and in the world. It is normal to grumble, but it is also important to reflect on our blessings from God. If we are really honest, we must recognize that all that we have is a gift from God. Our only response to that realization is one of gratitude. So, we give thanks to God richly blessing us…and then what? God is source of all that is good in our world; so, what is our response? We are called to move from gratitude to generosity. Generosity can be manifest in a variety of ways; all with a focus on abundance, sharing, and the giving of time, talent, and treasure. In our devotions, we will hear stories of grumbling in the Bible and then explore through prayer our own grumblings, our grateful recognition of God’s blessings, and our call to generosity.
GRUMBLING WITH MOSES
Exodus 3:9-12, 4:1-12
The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. Now go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Then Moses answered, “But look, they may not believe me or listen to me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So, he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake, and Moses drew back from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, as white as snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”
Holy God, You call me to life of discipleship. Sometimes that is easy, but most of the time it is something I have to work at, something I have to deliberating choose to pursue. I focus on the reasons why I can’t answer Your call and why living a Christ-like life is too hard. Forgive me, Lord. Strengthen me to see that You have given me the means to live as You desire. Empower me to respond to Your call with a willing heart. Help me to be share Your word and love with all those I encounter today. Amen.