I Can’t Afford to Go to Jail
But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Exodus 4:10
Yesterday, I referenced a job offer I had a couple years ago to work in jail medicine. I said that it was clear that it was the right thing to do, and so I did it. As my wife and I were reminiscing about this yesterday though, I was reminded that my obedience wasn’t quite that instant. When I first considered the job, I realized it involved a pay reduction. I had one kid in college with another on the way, so even though I thought the job was probably the right thing to do, I had my excuses for not taking it. It’s just simple math God. I can’t afford to do this. Send someone else. As I was planning on rejecting the opportunity, my wife and I sat in church one Sunday morning when our pastor spoke directly to us. I don’t remember his exact words, but the message was basically – If money is holding you back, let go of the money. You can’t afford not to obey God. My wife looked at me and said – Take the job.
Moses too, had his excuses. In today’s passage, God appeared to Moses, explaining that he was going to use Moses to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. You’ll recall that Moses had previously fled Egypt after murdering an Egyptian. Escaping to Midian, he’d built a nice life for himself. Egypt was the last place Moses wanted to go, but God had other plans – Come, I will send you to Pharaoh (Exodus 3:10). Several times, Moses objected, making excuses. I’m nobody . . . No one will believe God sent me . . . I’m a terrible public speaker . . . Send someone else.
Not all of us have been called to work in jail or to go to Egypt. Most of us though, can identify with the reluctance of following God. Maybe we’ve felt God telling us that we must abandon our pornography addiction. Maybe he’s prompted us to share a meal with a neighbor in need. Whatever it is that we feel we should do, we recognize that it will upset our status quo. I’ve got a comfortable life God. Bug someone else. The problem of course, is that following our way and saying no to God, is always self-sabotaging.
I could have refused that job. I could have followed my bank account instead of God, but then my bank account would have become my god. I’ve been down that road, making a god of my appetite, and I don’t like where it goes. I love my new life of faith and recovery. So, I took the job, and I’ve never regretted it. I may think my obedience costs too much, but the only thing I’ve ever really lost in my obedience is the misery of following my way. It’s been my painful experience that disobedience is far more costly. You can’t afford not to do this.