READING Exodus 7

Do what God tells you to do. Say what God tells you to say. Trust God with the outcome.

When facing an overwhelmingly difficult ministry responsibility, you can proceed with confidence by following the instructions God has given. If the Word of God gives steps to follow, you can just take those steps and trust God with the result.

For example, a church member persists in known sin. He or she may be part of an influential family in the church or community. What should you do? Carefully, patiently, prayerfully follow the steps laid out in Scripture (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-20). Or you believe you should develop disciple-makers in your church who can teach and mentor others in Christian growth, but volunteers are lacking. Select just one or two and follow Paul’s instruction in 2 Timothy 2:1-2. Or someone is infecting the church with discontent, gossip, and hostility toward the leadership. The instructions are clear in Titus 3:10-11.

Following instructions includes delivering the message God has given even when some people will not receive it. God told Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you” (v. 4) but instructed him to deliver the message anyway – “tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land” (v. 2).

There are certain people who will not listen to your message. Their minds are made up to resist and defy God. They may be in your church – the reluctant husband who attends because his wife nags him to, the surly teenager who comes to Sunday School and youth group because her parents make her. Their body language portrays the hardness of their hearts. In fact, it seems the more they hear, the harder they become. It is not your job, nor is it within your power, to make them listen. You cannot force conviction onto their hearts.

God made Moses’ responsibility clear: “You shall speak all that I command you” (2). He has made yours equally clear: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:1-5).

Deliver God’s Word faithfully and fully. That is your responsibility. How people respond is theirs.

Today I feel overwhelmed by some of my shepherding responsibilities, especially _____________________ . I am wrestling with what to do next and my willingness to do it. With your help, I will follow the instructions in your Word. With wisdom you provide, and with grace in my heart, I will deliver your message to those who need it. You are my Chief Shepherd, and I serve you. You are Sovereign God, and I am here to fulfill your purpose. I entrust the outcome of this difficult situation to you.

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