If you’re a leader, there are always opportunities, dreams, and visions that are big and scary. As you contemplate whether you could or should lean into them, a natural response is to start making excuses about why you can’t. It’s a common reaction. Leaders have been making excuses for thousands of years.
Moses was given an amazing assignment from God to lead his people out of Egypt. It’s the kind of opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky. When Moses was presented with the opportunity, he made excuses. Here are the five things he said to God:
Who am I? (Exodus 3:11) Moses had been doing well tending to his father-in-law’s sheep. Leading a nation seemed like a jump that was simply too big for him. It’s interesting that God didn’t try to convince Moses he was capable; God simply said that He would be with him. His presence would be enough. It always has been.
What am I going to say? (Exodus 3:13) Moses wondered, like we all would, “What exactly does someone say when you march into a hostile land and try to convince an entire nation to leave?” God told Moses that he was simply to tell the people he was sent by God. Moses didn’t have to know the precise words to say. Knowing that God had sent him would be enough. It always has been.
What if they don’t believe or listen to me? (Exodus 4:1) Moses had his doubts about how his message would be received. Like we often do, he probably wondered if they would like him or if they would respect him. God said He would give Moses some signs and that it was ultimately Him, not Moses, that would make the people believe. Moses’ job was to be faithful, and God would take care of the rest. Faithfulness has always been our job, the rest has always been God’s.
I’m not the best communicator. (Exodus. 4:11) Moses didn’t have the blessing (and curse) of listening to podcasts of other communicators. However, he was pretty sure there were others who could speak much better than he. This was a really big task. To Moses it was obvious that God should send his best communicator out on this assignment. This meant Moses would get a pass. God didn’t say he would make him eloquent, but He did say He would give Moses the words to speak. If God called him, He would give the words to say. He always has.
Please send someone else. (Exodus 4:13) At this point in the narrative, it’s as if Moses said, “God, let’s just be honest. Forget all the other excuses. I just don’t want to go, so please send someone else.” God didn’t let him off the hook. Instead, while Moses was trying to get out of the task, God was bringing him some help in Aaron. God knew what help Moses needed to get the job done and brought it to him. He always has.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to Mt. Nebo – the place where Moses saw the Promised Land and breathed his last breath. I sat on a few rocks where he possibly could have sat and wondered what his last thoughts would have been as he sat there and reflected on his life.
I imagined a tired Moses sitting on that mountain. The leadership task had surely taken a toll on him. It had also grown him and made him a different man. I wondered what Moses thought while he sat there. What miracles did he remember most? Was it the Red Sea, The Ten Commandments, or the daily manna? Since Moses said yes to the daunting task, he had a 40-year front row seat to watch God show up. I’m sure he realized he would have missed all the things God did if he had given into his excuses.
Leaders have been using the same excuses for several thousand years. God has been faithful to all those that don’t give into them. What are you are dreaming about? What do you think God is calling you to do? Stop making excuses. Do your part, and let God do His. He is faithful. He always has been.