FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: When the Lord pushes you in, you swim fast!
Good day to all. Welcome to the “front porch.”
Recently we shared the story of a young man who courageously swam across a lake filled with alligators and snakes. Well, he may not have been all that “courageous.” One of his buddies pushed him in, so he didn’t have much of a choice. He had to do what he had to do.
That story reminded me of how it is with important tasks that sometimes get laid in our laps.
The Lord, you know, will sometimes walk up to our desk, lay a humongous task in front of us, and say, “All right, put down whatever you’re doing – I’ve got a pretty big job for you.” Then He’ll walk off before we have a chance to see that it’s a bit more than a “pretty big” job in our minds.
As soon as we realize what the job is, we holler after Him to protest. “Please don’t leave, Lord, let’s talk about this.”
But, you know, the Lord is good, and He’s good in ways we don’t always recognize. Sometimes His goodness is that He simply doesn’t give us a choice. The Lord doesn’t operate by the democratic system. We don’t all get a vote. He just pushes us into that lake and tells us to swim as fast as we can.
That’s how motivation sometimes works. It’s an important thing in life we call “providence” – and it’s one of the greatest aspects of the Lord’s goodness.
Think back to some of the examples in the Bible of men who do great things only because the Lord takes them out to the edge of the lake and pushes them in when they least expect it.
Lot, remember, lingers in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord has to send angels to grab him by the hand to drag him out. Imagine that. Lot is deliberating about what he is going to do, not realizing that God is two inches away from sending down fire and brimstone.
Fortunately for Lot, the Lord sees something good in him, something He can salvage. So, “the Lord being merciful unto him,” gives him a little nudge and gets him out of the city just in the nick of time. It really is that close. It makes us wonder how many times the Lord yanks us out of the fire just in the nick of time, and we don’t even know it (Genesis 19).
Then, think back to Moses and his initiation into the Lord’s work. Do you remember how excited he is to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go? Well, again, he’s about as excited as we are to go to the dentist. I think I have purposely refrained from telling you this, but I’ve been to the dentist twice over the past six months for root canals. They are experiences I don't necessarily like to bring up. If the Lord were to speak to me right now and say, “Coach, I need you to go share the gospel with your dentist,” I’m sure I’d want to say, “Lord, there are a lot of other people who need the gospel. If you don’t mind, send them. I really don’t even like walking into the dentist’s office.”
That’s kind of the way Moses reacts about going to Pharaoh to take on this big job. He has never even come close to doing anything like what the Lord proposes, and he lets the Lord know about it, too. As soon as God lays this great challenge on his desk, he goes through his Rolodex of excuses to explain to God why that doesn’t need to happen.
“Not so fast, Lord,” he says, in essence, “let’s slow it down a bit. First off, who am I to go to do that job? Not only that – who are you, Lord? The people don’t even know who You are, so they’re going to laugh me off the stage if I go to them and tell them God just spoke to me. They’ll think I’m crazy. They’re not going to believe me, much less Pharaoh.”
“It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate Your faith in me,” I can hear him say, “because I do. I appreciate it a lot, but, please, go find somebody else. There are a lot of people way more qualified for this job than I am. Besides all of that, you know I’m not even eloquent. Lord, you need an orator for a job like this. You need an Abraham. I’m not him, not by a long shot. You can’t take an Abrahamic-type job and give it to a Moses.”
So, what does the Lord do? I’m sure He shakes His head first, and then He does the very thing to Moses He often does for us to get us to do a job He has for us.
He pushes him into the lake and tells him to swim fast.
Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 972-824-5197.