In Holy Discontent by Pastor Bill Hybels, his primary concern is with people who are so discontented with life that they become motivated to change things.
He uses as his Biblical example Moses who was chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses had grown up as an Egyptian but he knew he was an Israelite. He saw his people in captivity building the Egyptian empire as construction slaves. You know the story. One day he saw an Egyptian master beating an Israelite slave and he intervened. In the intervention, he began to fight the Egyptian master and he killed him.
Hybels uses this example as an example of someone getting so upset that he takes action.
It’s pretty dramatic. Most of us don’t have a life experience like that. Most of us don’t get so upset about things that we intervene in the troubles of others. Unlike Hybels, I don’t recall ever seeing a fight where someone is punched or beaten.
Most of us don’t live lives like that. We live lives with much less drama.
Yet the life we lead can cause us to give up.
Hybels focuses on the discontented young Moses; he does not take us further into Exodus when the older Moses declined to be the leader of his people. God intervened in Moses’ life and told him that he was the designated leader who would lead his people out of Egypt. Moses did not see it that way. He did not have the skills of a leader or so he said. He lacked eloquence. He did not have a leader’s skill set.
Had Moses given up on himself?
Life for all of us can be challenging. You have heard the old cliché: “bad things happen to good people.” When bad things happen, some just quit trying. Instead of battling back, people just resign themselves to the problems that have come and they give up. Some just fold their hands, resign themselves to the couch and says “let others do it.” Others just get tired of trying. Maybe things are not easy. Work is required. The work is done and one expects success, but success is not forthcoming. You continue working and you see no results. Over and over again the process of getting ahead is a frustrating experience and slowly but surely you begin to cut corners. You may even cheat a little. You are satisfied with less and less until you accept things that in the past would not have been acceptable. You begin to evolve into a person who just can’t do what you thought you could do.
You become a Moses who doubted his ability.
I am old enough to see this in my life every day. As one gets into the 60’s decade of life, health challenges can come. People begin to think about retirement, you know that time of life when you begin to reconstruct a life away from employment. Your youthful idols begin to pass away, the musicians and movies stars of your generation, and that is a reminder that you won’t be around forever. These things can be depressing.
You can begin to say “what’s the use?”
Until God intervenes and says “I have something for you to do.”
It may be to volunteer your time tutoring children. It may be picking up litter on the road. It may be starting up a visitation program at church. Maybe it will be a stronger commitment like going on a mission trip to aid people in a foreign country.
I am a firm believer that as long as we are alive, God has a purpose for us.
I was in the presence of a dear woman who dedicated her life to furthering The Kingdom. She hosted Bible studies in her home for decades. She reached out to the unchurched in her neighborhood and in even more extreme places like jail.
Until her body began to fail.
She was bedridden and never got up from bed.
What did she do?
She became a mighty bedridden prayer warrior.
I was with her in her last days. She was in awful pain but when I met her she began to pray for me.
What would most of us do? Most would not think of others at a time like that. We would be involved with our own maladies probably. Not her. She prayed for me.
We do become discontented at times. Maybe our discontent causes us to act. Maybe you see yourself in the Moses story as he came to the aid of his countryman who was getting beaten. How many of you see yourself in the Moses story of denial, when God says go do this and you say, I can’t, I won’t or I am just too tired.
Drama is good; it catches our attention, but most of us don’t have that much drama in our lives. We just have what we call “the daily grind.” Instead of letting life get you down, ask God “What can we do today?”
Be ready, He will tell you.
And He expects you do it.