#305 Serving Leaders ask themselves: “What is in my hand?”

July 21, 2021

Leaders with a vision are always conscious of their need for resources to accomplish the vision. These resources may be finances, people, skills, or knowledge or other things. Leaders often begin the search for these resources outside themselves and begin to look around to meet the needs at hand. But serving leaders learn from the question God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?”

2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. 3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you” (Exodus 4:2–5, NIV).

This exchange between God and Moses holds many insights for serving leaders and they do well to ask themselves the question, “What is in my hand?”

Serving leaders ask “What is in my hand?“ to discover resources.

Moses had a staff in his hand. It was an ordinary object that Moses walked with every day, but he did not even notice what it was. He may have assumed that everyone had a similar staff. But God asked him to notice what he had.

Serving leaders learn to ask themselves what they have at hand when they face a challenge or have a need. What experience do I bring to this situation? What resources do I have? Who do I know that could help? All of these questions allow resources to be discovered that might have been unnoticed. God took what Moses offered and used it to perform miracles.  Before looking beyond themselves for resources, serving leaders take a new look at what they already have. And as they offer these ordinary resources to God they find that they have enough!

Serving leaders ask “What is in my hand?“ to develop competence.

When the staff turned into a snake, Moses’ immediate response was to run away. But God asked him to pick the snake up, something Moses never dreamed he would be able to do. God wanted him to develop a new level of confidence and conquer his fear. Serving leaders ask “What is in my hand?” to stretch themselves to take on new tasks or responsibilities that they felt unprepared to do.

Serving leaders ask “What is in my hand?“ to diminish dependance.

Moses did not feel adequate for the task he was called to do. He felt that he was just a shepherd in the dessert with little to offer. He could have imagined that he needed much more than what was in his hand to lead. He saw himself as a person in need of a handout instead of having something to hand out. This sense of dependency cripples many leaders. But serving leaders look inward first. Before they ask “What do I need from you?” they ask “What’s in my hand that I can offer you?”  

For further reflection and discussion:

  • Take 30 minutes to reflect on what is in your hand and write down your observations. What training, life experiences, financial resources, education, professional opportunities, etc. do you carry in your hand? What surprises you on your list that you did not previously see as a resource?
  • What current situation seems challenging to me in my leadership? Reflect on what you have learned from Moses to apply to your own challenge. Are there things I have in my hand that could be used creatively to meet this challenge? Are there things I have previously experienced that can help me navigate this situation? Are there ways that God is inviting me to face my fears and develop competence in new areas?
  • Do I tend to see myself as a person in need or a person who can help those in need? What impact does this have on my leadership?         

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

In the next issue, we’ll look at the same question serving leaders ask others, “What’s in Your Hand?”