When Moses was tapped by God to lead Israel out of Egypt, he didn’t readily embrace his calling. And while I don’t know much about the Enneagram, I tend to think Moses was a bit of a type one—the strict perfectionist who is acutely aware of their personal imperfections and sense of not being good enough. His question to God in Exodus 4:1 gives us a little insight into Moses’ personality when he says, “What if they won’t believe me?”
The Lord is quick to respond with another question to Moses in verse 2, “What is that in your hand?” Moses realizes he is holding a staff—a simple tool of a shepherd. Yet, God used Moses’ staff as a conduit to show His strength and power. It was not a tool for magic but a tool that would point others to the one, true God who provided deliverance and freedom to an entire nation.
My friend Jerry didn’t use a staff as a conduit for the gospel, but he did use what he had—a sailboat. Jerry was the type of guy that cared about people, despite our friendly rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma football. His ugly burnt orange Texas shirt was his trademark wardrobe, and he would greet me every Sunday morning with a Texas Longhorn “Hook ‘em Horns” hand signal. And while we often teased each other about college sports, it was his sailboat that people remember.
Both of my children had an open invitation to sail with Jerry with one condition—they had to bring a literal boatload of friends—friends that might not know Jesus. Because his wife didn’t much care for sailing, Jerry relished the opportunity to take others on his boat and spend an evening talking about the Lord. My son Conner especially loved connecting with Jerry, and since we lived near the lake where the sailboat was docked, I often received texts saying, “I’m going sailing with Jerry tonight.” This was a pattern for Jerry when the weather was right and the people were plenty. He took many a group on his sailboat and even a few couples looking for a romantic date on the lake.
Yesterday, Jerry unexpectedly passed from this life into the promise of heaven. I was shocked since I had just seen him a few weeks ago when I was on a trip in Oklahoma. As I met with some of the church staff for a meeting, Jerry snuck up behind me in his ugly orange shirt and gave me a hug. He immediately wanted to know how my kids were doing—a testament to his genuine care for people. And while it was a short exchange, I had no idea it would be my last conversation with him on this earth. Jerry will be missed, but he left lots of memories for those who spent an evening sailing with him.
I’m not sure Jerry saw himself as a leader in our church, but he led because he used what God had placed in his hands—a simple sailboat. He faithfully served almost daily at the church’s community center and was a constant source of conversation.
If you are a woman who isn’t sure whether God has called you to lead, let me ask you a simple question: What’s in your hand? Is it a talent to bless others? Is it a tender touch to someone who is hurting? Is it an open hand of generosity that can bless someone who has less? Whatever your “staff” or sailboat may be, use it to bring others closer to the God who offers deliverance and freedom from bondage. Be willing to lay it down and let God use what you have for His glory. I’m glad Jerry did.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.