Moses was skeptical. “How will they believe me?” Moses questioned. He was worried the people of Israel would not know that the Lord was working through him. But then, God asked an important question.
“The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff.’”
— Exodus 4:2
It was that easy. What was in Moses’ hand was made to work for God’s good. To Moses, it was just a rod. However, with God, it was a vessel for displaying His majesty and miraculous power. That item in Moses’ hand would be used continually by God through Moses. It would be used to part the sea, carry out the 10 plagues, and even bring water out of solid rock. This is not the only time God used what the people had in their hand for His works.
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
— John 6:9
Even though what the 5,000 had in their hands was little or, in the case of Moses, meant for something completely different, God used it to fulfill His plan.
At The Signatry, we have seen where buildings were erected for personal gain or pleasure but, upon completion, were used by God to fulfill His need. We have worked with personal businesses and sitting real estate that, when their true value was questioned, were discovered useful for an eternal purpose as a gift to God’s Kingdom. How did these gifts come to fruition? The maximization of simple, earthly assets for God’s good brings us to the first lesson of asking what is in our hands.
1. We must search for God’s intention for what He wants us to do with His treasure.
Sometimes, we must spend time and energy asking what is in our hand that can be used for eternity. Consider the parables of the hidden field and fine pearl in Matthew 13:44-45.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had to buy it.”
— Matthew 13:44-45
These verses show us that seeking out the Kingdom of Heaven might cost us everything. However, the Kingdom of Heaven is worth everything to find. Yet, many do not find the treasure or get the pearl. They simply walk through life as though passing over an empty field, never discovering the potential for Kingdom impact. Sometimes our quest to serve God’s people to gain significance in His Kingdom might need great effort.
2. What is significant about our life?
The second principle regarding what we already hold deals with perception. All of us long to be significant or great in some way. We want what we devote our lives to doing to matter. Have you thought about how it matters in eternal significance to God?
What are the things in our lives that we spend so much time trying to fill up with significance and meaning? If we were to hold them up to the light of what God says is significant and will last forever, they will often pale in comparison.
Let us orient our lives by what He calls significant. What is that you hold that can be called great by God?
3. We must be sober, alert and watchful.
How can we be intentional to make something in our hand be used for Him? Are we called to wait until our circumstances feel good, allowing us to easily check if a little bit of what we hold can be used by God? No. Instead we are called to always look at our hands and how they can be used for His good.
It also takes trust to give of what is in our hand that God will use it for His good. This might mean renewing our minds in a difficult season to understand that what belongs to us really belongs to God. He is the ruler, creator, sustainer, and owner of everything. How can we watch to give back to Him?
4. There is no external replacement.
What our neighbor gives up for God does not count as our own. We must not rely on the voices of others to lobby our worth or label our significance. How we steward our lives for God’s glory is only to be judged by God, and He should be our source of hope in the process.
“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” — Isaiah 60:19
Isaiah teaches us that it is nothing outside of ourselves we need but the light of God in us. Sometimes what we hold is not real estate or publicly traded stock but a guitar, a serving spoon, a basketball, or a simple wooden rod.
At the end of the day, we must listen and wait on the Lord. We can both examine what we hold in our hand and wait for His instruction. But in order to do so, we still must first ask, “What is in our hand?”