OceanSide church of Christ

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What Is That In Thy Hand?

                                                               Cory Landolt


            In Exodus 4:1-2, the text reads: “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thy hand?”

            Through Moses, God used a simple walking staff cut from the branches of a bush or tree (“rod” – Exodus 4:2), as a “tool” or a “blessing” to be used in accomplishing His will (Exodus 4:5). Today, we, as Christians, have been given “tools” and “blessings” for the exact same purpose – to carry out God’s will. In this article, we will examine this application by identifying seven of these tools or blessings.


1) The Gospel

            The church’s mission statement is found in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The church’s action plan is found in the next verse (v. 20), “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you….” In Romans 10:18 and Colossians 1:5-6, 23, the Scriptures inform that the Gospel, during Paul's lifetime, was proclaimed throughout “all the world, bearing fruit and increasing.” Therefore, the question is: Can we today, in the 21st Century, preach this same Gospel to “every creature”? If not – why not?

2) Our Talents

            In the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the three servants were entrusted with  different quantities of talents. Each servant was required with his full ability to produce more talents (vs. 16-17). The first and second servant reported their accounting with great “joy” to their master (vs. 21, 23); but the third servant, who had done nothing for his master, waited until he was confronted. He had slothfully despised the trust-commitment (vs. 18); in doing so, the slothful-servant began to make excuses (vs. 24-25). His excuses, however, were in vain because his master had a right to as much faithfulness in this servant with one talent, just as he did in the servant who had five talents.

            The sole purpose of the parable is to teach us that God looks for as much faithfulness and fidelity in his children today who have but little talent, just as He does in those who have much talent! Let us be like Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus – John 12:1-3) and be found “doing what we can” (Mark 14:8) in carrying out our Master’s will (Mark 14:9).


3) Time

            Each individual Christian has been allocated 168 hours per week. From the scriptures, we are taught to be careful how we allocate, or use, that time in relationship to understanding the Lord’s will – i.e., (that is) using our time wisely for the Lord’s glory and not our own (Ephesians 5:9-17).

            We are to walk in (spiritual) wisdom toward them who are non-believers, expending the greatest amount of our time influencing them for Christ (Colossians 4:5). Our actions always speak louder than our words. The lives of Christians are in many cases the only “Bible” that the world reads (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

4) Opportunity

            The inspired apostle instructs us, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Why should we do good to all men? Because the eternal principle of sowing and reaping applies (Gal. 6:7-8). If we “sow” good things, we shall “reap” good things (Gal. 6:9). We are also instructed to make the “most” of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16).

            God has given each of us only a limited amount of time to do His will. Christ said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work” (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Jeremiah 48:10).

5) Resources

            Our money, possessions, power and fame should all be used for God’s glory and honor.  From the beginning, all profitable resources came from God above (John 3:27; James 1:17).

            Recall Pilate’s question in John 19:10-11 when he said to Jesus, “Don’t you know that I have power to crucify thee, and have the power to release thee?” To which Christ replied, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.”


6) Means or Medium

            We are to share the Gospel through any means or medium that's available for us today. The great apostle Paul was limited in the means/mediums presented to him in by which to preach the saving Gospel of Christ, yet he preached the Gospel with more fervency and devotion to Christ than anyone before or since.

            He stated to the Corinthian brethren that he came not with a great oratory capability, but rather with the simple truth that Christ died for them (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). His sole purpose was to lay a solid foundation of Bible faith, so that their faith “should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (vs. 5).


7) Motivation to Act

            By the love of God (Romans 4:24; Romans 5:1-15), are we expending all of our blessings to present glory and honor to God in the fulfillment of His purpose for the church?

            The apostle Paul stated to the Ephesian brethren that it is through the church of our Lord that the Gospel is to be preached to a lost and dying world of people living in sin (cf. Eph. 3:1-13). Therefore, we as children of God, should be motivated to preach and teach that saving Gospel (Romans 1:16) by whatever means or medium necessary because of what God has done for us through Christ’s sacrifice (John 3:16; Romans 5:5-9; 1 John 4:8-11).

            Indeed, it is sad that some members in the Lord’s body are not even motivated to attend the services of the church much less teach and preach the Gospel. Why display such a disrespectful gesture toward the One who gave His life and blood for the church (Acts 20:28)? As discussed earlier, we have been allocated 168 hours per week; and sadly, many who are among us will not lay-up an extra hour or two on a Sunday night worship service! Certainly, we can render a superior-suitable service for our Lord!


            In this article, we have briefly looked at seven “tools” and “blessings” which God has put forth “in our hand.” These tools or blessings, however, will not be for the benefit of our heavenly Father unless we are willing to use them for His glory and honor.

            Just like the “rod” in Moses’ hand did not fulfill the purpose of God until Moses utilized the rod in exactly the way God prescribed; therefore, the same holds true for us in the Lord’s church today.  Are we properly using the “tools” and “blessings” of:  1)  The Gospel, 2) Our Talents, 3) Our Time, 4) Our Opportunities, 5) Our Resources, 6) Our Means or Medium, and 7) Our Motivation to Act.  Our heavenly Father is still asking us today as He asked Moses in ages past, “What is that in thy hand?”