Monday, October 9, 2017

Use What You Have


[Photo of open hands]

Then the Lord said to him [Moses],
“What is that in your hand?”
—Exodus 4:2

Some music teachers, observing the sparse equipment I had to use, might have wondered how I could teach music with so little. They had the most modern music textbooks and a full range of xylophones and metalophones, as well as the newest electronic white boards and listening devices—even computer programs, which I didn’t have. Yet, it didn’t take much for God to show me that I had plenty of resources to do my job effectively.

One day, while trying to teach a lullaby to an increasingly sleepy kindergarten class (Lullabies work!), I realized I had a square scarf in my drawer I could fold and make into a tiny cradle. When I showed the trick of making the cradle and the “babies” in the cradle, learning these quiet songs became so much more fun and memorable.

Moses didn’t have much when God called him. But, when God pointed out the staff (or rod) in his hand, Moses had just the right tool to convince Pharaoh that Moses had been sent by the Almighty God.

Sometimes God just has to make us aware of what we have. Other times, we need to learn the lesson of contentment with what we do have. Paul says in Philippians 4:11-12:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances … I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

God sometimes takes us through valleys of poverty in which we long for things we do not have, even things that would allow us to serve Him better. In these times, He often teaches us that He gives us all we really need to serve Him and to live to bring Him glory.

I have mused often on the questions that Joni Eareckson Tada poses in one of her devotionals:1

  1. What do I have?

  2. Am I using what I have?

  3. Am I prepared to lose what I have?

  4. Am I ready to receive what I do not have?

Do you feel that God wants to use you, but hasn’t given you the tools? Let Him remind you of the things He has already given, and be thankful. Ask Him to use what you have. Instead of complaining, become more like the women who Jesus credited with preparing His body for burial by pouring her perfume on His head (Mark 14:3-9), by saying to her critics:

Leave her alone … She has done a beautiful thing to me … She did what she could.


1 Tada, Joni Eareckson. Pearls of Great Price. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. From the devotional for October 16th.