Todd and I were driving for several hours today and I decided to download a book I have wanted to read for awhile. A few chapters in I realized I was using the “highlighting” function more than I typically do and decided maybe Todd would enjoy it as much as me. I read out loud for a few paragraphs, slowing to make sure I was making notes of my favorite parts, and then I trailed off, assuming it wasn’t as interesting to him as it was to me.
Apparently I was wrong, and he asked me to keep going. An hour and a half later we were wrapped up in the story, hushing the little ones while they sang from the backseat because we were so eager to hear what happened next. They, of course, thought this was hilarious so the background music for our book “Chasing Francis” was Justin Beiber. Solid.
There were pages that made me pause reading because I had to have space to process the profundity of the idea-it’s told so beautifully that you are knee deep in a story of a man, but also a centuries-old Saint. I have long been fascinated by the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, but had no idea what wisdom I would glean from the story portion of the book. In one section, the following conversation takes place:
“Do you know the story of Rabbi Zusya?” he asked. “He was a Chasidic master who lived in the 1700’s. One day he said, “When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you Moses?’ Rather he will ask me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?
Thomas let that thought hang in the air for a moment, then continued.
“Churches should be places where people come to hear the
story of God and to tell their own. That’s how we find out how the two relate.
Tell your story with all of its shadows and fog, so people can understand their own.
They want a leader who’s authentic, someone trying to figure
out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life.
They need you, not Moses,”
They need you.
I don’t know who your ‘Moses’ is, but I can think of several people in my life that I have seen myself as such a pale shadow of. People I look up to and want to emulate in some sense. At the heart of it isn’t even what I see as greatness in them, but rather the way it casts light on the weaknesses I perceive in myself. And how much time to I spend comparing, contrasting, evaluating, doubting, and allowing myself to feel like a disappointment when the Lord tells me over and over that He loves me.
I believe that when I read those sentences…those simple sentences…something in me was released.
There will be no measuring stick when we see our Saviour face to face. I have images of apologizing to Him, fumbling for words as I try (no better than a toddling child) to convince Him that I wanted to be as good as “so and so,” or as brave as “so and so.”
I realized (and I suppose I have really been coming to realize this slowly) that I am not in charge of my status with anyone else. I need not look at my failings and others’ successes, imagining that I have failed the Lord or disappointed Him.
What a waste it is to watch each other and long for what they have, how they manage to do it all so well, and why in the world we can’t get our act together enough to be so doggone good at quiet time or so ruthlessly capable of memorizing scripture.
For crying out loud, did I think there was going to be a “verse-off” with another soul entering heaven when my name is called? Maybe I would have to do a little Bible map work, prove I could put the books of both the Old and New Testament in order?
How wildly ridiculous, right?
Then why is it, sister, that we spend our days doing exactly this?
May we all hear the words spoken so true in this amazing story, and may the message soak you with truth that permeates your insecurities, your doubts, and your misgivings about what you have to offer.
Thank God for you. Just as you are.
God doesn’t need you to be Moses, friend.
He needs you to be you.
May the peace of that gentle reminder fall on you, and may it secure something in you that may have been rattling around, determined to find a satisfactory answer.
No, you aren’t her, and you won’t be.
God wouldn’t have it any other way…
Go into the day today with confidence, and with a heart aligned with the One who knew your name before time began. He sings songs over you and quiets you with His love. If you are brave enough to listen, you might here the sound of your own name echoing back from the great I AM.
Jesus, we praise you for the provision to create each of us as distinct, precious, holy images of you and we ask your blessing over this sweet fellowship of sisters. That we would love each other well, encourage to the heights, listen until there are no more words, chasten only when mandated, appreciate all things unique, and most of all, thank you for the mighty work You are doing in each one of us…every single day.
We love you, Lord.