A recent media article about the spate of resignations around the world and its cause—burnout—threw up an interesting insight.

Burnout, it quoted experts as saying, may not always be about being overworked. It can also come about because we feel disconnected from work, cynical about our purpose, and—here’s the interesting one—inadequate.

Indeed, if we feel incompetent and unable to “perform” as we believe we are expected to at work, it can gradually lead to a feeling of disconnection from work, and exhaustion from trying to do something we think we are no good at.

There have been times at work when I’ve entertained the thought: “What’s the point of trying? I’m not going to succeed anyway.” And: “Why am I even doing this when I’m so lousy at it?”

These same questions also come to mind, I confess, when I feel I am being tasked to serve God in some way, whether it’s at my job, in church, or helping someone.

Yet, I am also reminded that at least one other “big name” in the Bible felt the same. Yes, it was no other than that great leader of the Israelites who led more than a million people across the desert to the promised land.

Long before he became a byword in faith and leadership, Moses was a fearful, reluctant man who truly felt he was not up to the job of delivering God’s people from slavery in Egypt. Exodus 4:1–10 documents his fears:

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “Who would listen to me?”
  • “I don’t have the right skills.”

In response, God addressed Moses’ fears and assured him that He would empower and enable His servant to do His work.

In a recent sharing, Robert M. Solomon, Bible teacher and former Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore, drew three useful lessons from how God assured and used His servant Moses:

1. God is in control of our skills

Interestingly, God’s response to Moses’ first protest was: “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2)

As it turned out, it was a staff.

What an interesting picture! Moses had a staff in his hand because he was, by profession, a shepherd. It represented his gifting, skill, and experience in taking care of sheep—the very things that God would use to lead His people over the next 40 years.

It is the same with us, isn’t it?

God is the one who gives us our gifts, skills, and experience, and He will use them for His work. Nothing we possess is ever wasted—He prepares us for His work, and He is in total control of them.

Instead of focusing on our inadequacy, we can trust God to use the gifts that He has given us.

What do we have in our hands? Will we dedicate it to God, so He can use it for His glory?

2. God is in control of our person

God is not only in control of our giftings and skills, He is also in control of our very being, which He will use for His good work.

If we are ever in doubt whether we are “good enough”, we can hold firm to the truth that God is shaping our character to be more and more like that of His Son, Jesus Christ. That would be a character that is holy and pleasing to Him.

Indeed, God is not so much interested in what we can do for Him, but who we can be for Him. Not only that, it is He will do the hard work of shaping us into what will please Him!

All we need to do is to allow ourselves to be moulded and shaped by the Holy Spirit.

Will we dedicate ourselves to God, so He can mould us?

3. God is in control of the work

As God proceeded to use Moses to speak to Pharoah and tell him to release the Israelites from slavery, He would give miracle after miracle that showed His power and sovereignty over the world and everything in it.

Whatever it is that God is sending us to do, He has already paved the way and will ensure that what He means to happen, will happen. He who sends us is in total control of our circumstances and the task at hand.

Jesus echoed the same assurance in John 16:33 when He commissioned His disciples to go forth while warning them of the struggles to come:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Will we trust God, who is in control of the world, to take care of His work to which He sends us to do?

God understands our fears

When Moses first protested against his calling, God took time to address his fears and show him that He would empower and enable him to do His work.

He who sends us is in control of our gifts, of our persons, and of the work that He calls us to do. As He told Moses in Exodus 4:11–12:

“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

God knows our heart. He knows when we are truly afraid and feeling inadequate. All we have to do is to step forward in faith, and be willing to be used by God in His own way.

Lord, You know my fears that I am not good enough. Help me to see that You are in total control of everything—my gifts and skills, my very being, and the work that You are calling me to do. Teach me to trust You completely, that I can say, “Here I am, O Lord, send me.”

Adapted from a teaching by Robert M. Solomon.

Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.

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