TITLE: Overcoming a low self-image before ministry 1/7/15
By Richard McCaw
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Overcoming a low self-image before ministry
Moses was not born a prince or a member of any prestigious family in his own country. He had been found floating down the Nile river in a basket, and nurtured by the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who had enslaved his countrymen. Though he grew up in the king’s palace, he was very aware that he was an alien. His mother had nursed him, and taught him the Hebrew scriptures and all that a Jewish boy should know about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Within the palace walls, he must have heard from time to time negative remarks about “Jews.”
Let’s face it: Egypt, culturally and scientifically advanced, had proudly accomplished much in comparison to other nations. Could Moses have internalized a low self-image of himself at the time God confronted him? Moses’ response seems to suggest that he did not consider himself qualified for the task.
“Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Many of us, when called by God to carry out His purposes, regard ourselves as inadequate for the task. Perhaps, you can identify with Moses. Your social standing lacks the prestige; after all, your parents and family came from a town that had little reputation. Remember what they said about Jesus? “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Such a social complex may have driven you to live in a way to impress others. Not having the kind of money in the bank, you may have secured credit cards, bought the latest model car, or even an expensive residence. Perhaps, you are now deeply in debt, yet you dress and smile as if all is well. An inferiority complex can surely warp our sense of values.
Still others strive to reach the top of the educational ladder, because they have seen what the lack of university degrees did for their parents, and how a few letters after one’s name brought social recognition.
Some have had their self-image damaged by well-meaning parents. I remember a nine-year-old, a well behaved, and talented child, if only her God-given gifts had been allowed to blossom forth! Every morning, I saw her mother carry her school bag, seat her in the classroom, ensuring that everything was perfect before leaving her to the fate of the day. Whenever I questioned other children, I could clearly hear their answers. Whenever I called upon her, she could hardly open her mouth. I always had to say, “Jasmine, can you speak a little louder?” With great difficulty, she endeavored to raise her voice. Again, unable to hear, I repeated the question, and had to stand beside her to hear what she was saying.
When I was working as an associate missionary at Christian Literature Crusade on Church Street in Kingston, Jamaica, God marvelously began speaking very clearly to me through the experience of Moses.
After Moses had tried to back away from the responsibility of leading God’s people out of
Egypt, the Lord assured him, “I will certainly be with you.” Moreover God said to him, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ ...and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’
Moses then made another attempt to escape God’s call to leadership. “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”
So the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”
He replied, “A rod.”
God would use what Moses had in his hand at each step of the way to deliver His people. However, the more God reassured Moses that He would be with him, the more he brought reasons why he was not qualified for the task to which God was calling him. Although Moses threw down the rod and it turned into a snake, then picked it up, and it became a rod, all at God’s command, he was still terrified at the prospect of leadership.
“Lord,” he moaned, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent!”
The scripture records that the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.
As I continued to meditate daily upon the scriptures, God began to reveal to me that just as He had used what Moses had in his hand, He could also use what I had in my hand for His glory. “What is in your hand, use it!” now became very personal to me, and helped me to find my own identity as a child of God, and His will for my life.
That serious word suggested to me that my gifts of writing and music must be used to supply my financial needs as I preached. I discussed plans for the music studio with the manager of the Bookstore. I also exchanged ideas with Eric Fong, a Chinese brother from the Church of God faith, with whom I often traveled to country churches.
“Who would come to me to learn the piano?” I argued with myself. Then, I prayed, “Lord, if you want me to teach music, then send the people to me!”
Next day, Ben Brown, a tall brother from Bethel Baptist Church, approached me outside the bookstore. “Hey, Brother Richard,” he smiled. His round brown face looked like it had gone through a rough time with the wrong razor. “You can teach me to play the piano! I’ve heard enough about you! Yes, man! When can I start?” God was confirming the way that I should go.
The time had come to leave the bookstore and to enter a new plateau of faith in God!
That year, I had written a poem entitled: “And Jesus died.” Not long afterwards, it was published in the “Star,” a local newspaper’s afternoon publication. At this third entry into the publishing world, I was paid for my labor. God was keeping His word.
At the same time, I still kept close to the literature ministry, engaging in colportage work, by taking books on consignment and selling them at camps, conferences, and in churches. I wanted to share some of the wonderful truths that had blessed me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the work.
“There is nothing better for a man,” Solomon once wrote, “than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.