What’s in your hand?
Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on my hands. You see, it all started with my shoveling a bit of snow prior to Christmas and wearing a fairly large blister on the palm of my hand. Then, just prior to New Years, I was reviewing curriculum on our Truth@Work portal and noticed the “What’s in your hand?” curriculum which is authored by Rick Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life. It just so happens, I was also finishing a 40 day refresher of The Purpose Drive Life with Lisa prior to the end of 2012; so, it was an interesting correlation.
In the video, Warren discusses a familiar story in Exodus with Moses, the burning bush, and his staff. He gives some insights that may make this story one of the most important stories of the Bible. You’d need to assess the curriculum to gain the entire context of the story, however, here are a few of my takeaways.
Warren reminds us of the time when Moses is standing at the burning bush holding a staff in his hands talking with God. God tells Moses to throw his staff down and when he does, it immediately turns into a serpent. Then, he has him pick it back up and it turns back into a staff. Some see this as some type of mystical trick simply to get Moses attention; however, Warren relates that there is much more to this story. To best illustrate, we must first understand what the staff symbolizes to Moses or a shepherd.
When we look at Moses’ staff, it tells us three things about him.
- Identity – Like a stethoscope with a doctor, the staff symbolizes that Moses was a shepherd.
- Influence – Being a shepherd, he has a flock for which he has influence and the staff is used to exert this influence.
- Income – The size of a shepherd’s flock represents the size of his income (eg. larger flock, larger income).
So, when God asked Moses to throw his staff down, he was asking him to give up is “identity, influence, and income”. Warren continues by noting that the staff “came alive” when it left Moses hand; vice versa, when Moses picked it up again, the staff “died”. Warren emphasizes the symbolism that when Moses gave up his identity, influence, and income they “came alive”. And, any time Moses would try to take back control of these things, they would “die again”. Wow, what a profound image this paints!
Again, this 30 minute video will do a much better job setting the context and telling the story. If you’d like to gain access to this content or similar content, please contact me directly to further discuss.
Since watching this video, I have been continually reflecting on the blister on my hand and the times in my life I have been living “closed fisted” versus “palm up”. Or, as it relates to Moses story, what times have I given up my “identity, influence, and income” for God versus tried to hold on too tight to them. For our followers, you likely know our resent post, “One of the Best Christmas Gifts Ever!”, represents a time where we gave up our “identity, influence, and income” for our Lord and he blessed us beyond imagination. I find no irony in that the blister on my hand, Warren’s story of Moses, and a couple of other stories related to hands have come at a time where we have been blessed beyond imagination. It’s as if God is saying to me, “I have given you a scar in the palm of your hand as a reminder of my faithfulness. Any time you want to take back control of your identity, influence, and income let this scar be a reminder to remember this time of my faithfulness.”
As we look into 2013, we have a strong sense that God has only just begun to reveal his faithfulness to our family. At this point, it appears that God will grow our “identity, influence, and income” in a major way in 2013. Will it look like what we think? I doubt it, as it rarely has to this point!
Will you be joining us by laying down your staff?
[…] Yesterday, I was doing some manual labor around the house cleaning the hot tub and preparing outside for a gathering of folks in the evening. Throughout the day, I was reflecting on the joy of work and, more specifically, physical labor. While it’s another topic, we encourage people daily to see their work as worship and there is just something special sometimes about physical labor. As much as I did enjoy it, it has come with a cost as there are blisters on my hands today and my body is a bit sore. As a result, I found myself going back into the blog archives and re-reading, “What’s in your hand?” […]