God’s Expectations

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Exodus 4:1-2

What is that in your hand? (v. 2)

Moses asks God questions: “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” God answers with a big vision (free my people) and a big promise (they will pay you to leave). Now, it’s God’s turn to ask a question: “What is that in your hand?” (v. 2). A shepherd holds a staff, of course!

But think about what God’s question tells us about God and about ourselves. God asks his people to trust him to do great things. It is not an easy feat to “go . . . and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). But in asking, “What is that in your hand?” God starts out with what we already have. Moses is to begin with his staff. It will soon be used in ways beyond corralling sheep, but God begins with what Moses already knows.

In my challenging early days as a new pastor, Dr. Charles Van Engen spoke on this text at my installation: “Jon, God doesn’t expect any more from you than what you have in your hand. But he expects you to use what you do have in your hand.” I pray for myself and for you to sense God’s nudging in a big way and for great things—things you and I think are too big. And I hope you hear God asking you, “What is that in your hand?” Forget about what you don’t have. Start with what you already have. God will provide what is needed next. —Jon Opgenorth

Prayer: Show me, Father, what you have already placed in my hand.