What's In Your Hand

My heart is to see a movement of God’s people living extraordinary lives. I’m tired of seeing children of the Living God walking around half dead. Instead of chasing the purpose created for them, they are afraid of what pursuing God means.

  • “God I want to serve you, but don’t let this happen!”

  • “God I want to serve you, but please don’t make me poor!”

  • “God I want to serve you anywhere… except Africa!”

  • “God I want to serve you, but please don’t allow anyone in my life get sick!”

  • “God I want to serve you but please don’t make me let go of my super hot heathen boyfriend!”

I get it. We have lots of fears. When God asks us to pick up our cross and follow him, we may become reluctant and want to run our own lives. Moses was just like that. But God interrupted his comfortable life. Think about it. Mo was hitting 80 years old, he was ready to retire. You know, settle down with the grandkids and rock on his front porch.

But there’s a bush that is burning and Moses’ life is about to get flipped upside down.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it." [Ex. 4:1-3]

In Exodus chapter 3 [read it for extra credit], Moses had many doubts and many fears. He came up with tons of excuses. But God asked Moses what was in his hand.

We know Moses has a shepherd’s staff in his hand, a dead thing. But then he laid it down and it became a snake. A dead thing became a living thing, and a dangerous thing at that. So dangerous in fact that Moses actually runs from it! God says to pick it again and it becomes a dead thing again.

Before we discover what God has created us for, we must be willing to lay down our income, lay down our status, lay down our perfection, lay down our finances, lay down our children, lay down our relationships, lay down our self-pursuits.

Just like God told Moses, I believe God is telling people today to lay it down. Will you not lay down your identity? Many of us are defined by our job, our education, our financial status, or marital status. But Galatians 2:19 reminds us that, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Yes, it’s no longer about me, but rather Christ who lives in me. God is saying, Let me be the one to give you identity. Find your identity in me.

Before we find our passion and calling, we must be willing to lay down our influence and recognition.

The recognition of man pales in comparison to what God has called us to. God is asking if you’re willing to lay down our dead things so he can make them come to life. Many people are living lives that are dead; it feels comfortable and safe and controllable.

But when God gives us a vision for our life like He did with Moses, we’re able to see the power God has for us, the purpose he promises us, and the plan he wants for us. It might scare us. Some might even want to run away from because it’s terrifying and they won’t know how to handle the amazing things God has for them.

We can have great dreams for ourselves, as I’m sure Moses had great dreams for himself.

But I wonder if he ever had dreams that one day he would change the world.

I wonder if in his wildest dream his shepherd’s stick—which is the last time in scripture it’s referred to as Moses’ rod, but now as the rod of God—that one day this rod of God would humble and bring the greatest nation of that time to its knees.

I wonder if he dreamt that one day he would raise this rod and seas would part.

I wonder if he dreamt one day that he would hit a rock with this rod of God and water would spew out. Or that he would feed thousands of people in the desert.

Even in his wildest imaginations as a Prince of Egypt, I don’t think he knew what he was going to do through the power of God.

Our dreams are great. We may have wonderful dreams. But I discovered God’s dreams for me are far greater than my dreams for myself. Yes, His dreams are far greater than anything we can dream up. But let’s not ignore three things that are in the text:

  1. God won’t use anything we have until we let go of it. He will not force or coerce us to give up anything. It’s when we willingly offer it to Him that He will do great things with whatever we have.

  2. God didn’t ask Moses to use something he didn’t already have. Yup, God always uses what we have. God has never demanded from us what we do not have.

  3. We will never know the full potential of what we have until we allow God to have full control of it.

Sadly, I believe that Christianity has lost sight of that. Today we define a mature Christian as someone who goes to church, knows some scripture, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t curse, and volunteers at a non-profit, but goes along pursuing their own dream trying to find fulfillment. They go along baptizing their dream and Christianizing it.

But God has HUGE dreams for us! He’s whispering in the wind and speaking through the fire and shouting in silence the extraordinary dream He is birthing in you. His dream for you is far greater than the dream you have for yourself. It’s not your identity or income or influence that will make this happen. Like Zechariah 4:6 says, “’It’s not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.”

God isn’t waiting until you have more resources or a husband or a job so he can use you. He can use you now.

Stop asking when you are going to get your gifts or talents or calling and see what’s in your hand.


Bianca Juarez Olthoff

Bianca Juarez Olthoff is a lover of words and stories. Passionate about creating beautiful things, she spends her week working as Chief Storyteller for The A21 Campaign and Creative Director for Propel Women.  You can follow Bianca on Twitter @BiancaOlthoff

Join the discussion

none August 22, 2016 at 10:17am

what do that suppose to mean about god i want to serve you except Africa?? god don't care if you blue, green, yellow, orange.

Bawo June 14, 2015 at 5:55pm

YES!!! :)

Ashley June 5, 2015 at 12:47am

This was such an encouraging and amazing article. Right on time. God is amazing!!

Justine May 31, 2015 at 4:38am


Jasmine Jones May 23, 2015 at 8:39am

This read was so encouraging and timely!

Pauline May 21, 2015 at 7:53am

. I know and believe that the only way to see Gods face, is through trusting him, through dying with Christ as write in the article and living only through Christ. And again as already written, we can't do it, by counting, how many times we went on out knees and prayed to our Heavenly Father, but a heartfelt prayer,and a genuine love.

Sharon Sam May 18, 2015 at 4:04pm

That is so beautiful. Its not about me, its about Him. About Christ who can work through me.
I've been trying to figure out what next and whats my calling for the past one year. But what I wasn't ready to do was move out of my comfort zone. I shifted in my seat a bit and then got comfy right there warming the chair with all my excuses and doubts and "practical difficulties" . Its time to use whats in my hand.
The more time I spend in His presence, the clearer i can hear from Him, and the more I know of His character and love, the more I can trust Him and the more I can let go... Its a beautiful cycle :)

clare busingye May 11, 2015 at 6:56pm

Thank you Bianca.
Beautiful and timely reminder for me. Have been thinking about this exact topic for close to two weeks now. Things i am afraid to lay down and let God use me , the dream i have for my life and God's ultimate and beautiful dreams/plans for my life.
Thanks for sharing this.

Vivianne May 10, 2015 at 1:09am

This piece has made me so much more grateful for what I have in my hands right now. Sometimes I run away with the idea that I'm in college and I need an actual career before I can meaningfully serve in His Kingdom. But He gently reminded me through this article that I am His heartbeat and therefore every soul I encounter matters to Him.

Ilze B May 10, 2015 at 12:58am

Thank you Bianca! What an incredible article. I love the fact that you are bold and brave to shoot straight out. I so needed to read this message. It has been revolving through the corridors of my thoughts this entire week. Timeous, spot-on, and exactly what I needed in my journey to encourage me to keep on pursuing the dream that God has laid on my heart! Thank you so much!

Roimata May 9, 2015 at 5:25am

I love this!! I agree with the while mature christian thing it really stops the supernatural move of God in the church & using what we have in our hand if were willing tk use that we will be willing to use what God add's on, This is a verry Good illistration.

Melicia Bowen May 7, 2015 at 2:50pm

Thank you Bianca for sharing this; it was a wonderful reminder for me that God can use me as I am. I believe that I have surrendered totally to Him and if not I'm trusting that whatever has not been surrendered will be. But as I read this article and realized that despite that I have been thinking that God may not be able to use me in somethings, but you've reminded me that it's what I have that God will use. What came alive to me from this article is when Moses' rod became God's Rod because Moses gave it to God. Thank you so much, may God continue to bless you.

Barbara Haley May 6, 2015 at 4:20am

WOW! Just knowing that God's dreams for ME are so much grander than my own...... such an exciting and invigorating word! Thank you, Bianca!

Audrey May 5, 2015 at 8:23pm

WOW! Exactly the reminder I needed RIGHT NOW! Thanks for such a challenging and beautiful word! x

Natalia May 4, 2015 at 9:15am

It's amazing to read an article that God placed on someone's heart, the same things that He places on others. It's a confirmation of what God has been saying straight to my heart. Daily I do my best to lay myself down for God so He can use me. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed. Thank you so much for speaking right to my heart.

Monica T Smith May 4, 2015 at 4:50am

Amen! Amen! Amen! Thank you for confirmation for the lesson God shared with me this morning! From the rich young man to each disciple He called, Jesus said, "Come, follow Me!" I know the only way to follow Him with complete abandon is to let go of EVERYTHING and let Him be in complete control. Let Him lead instead of telling Him what I want and when, instead of asking when will He use me to do what I know He has called me to do.

I definitely have to print this message as a reminder that my dream/purpose is of God and I am merely an instrument of His choosing. Thanks for this!

Angelitta May 4, 2015 at 2:13am

I love this passage. and I Am so grateful for the Propel Women project. I love when I see u in my email.
Iam looking at the computer the computer looking to me, Im not sure if I should get into this discussion .. but here i go ..for me some things is quite hard to comprehend like
. God used to speak very clear back on the days isnt Him?
. This was a special word for Moises .. not really to me isn't it?
. And yeah I know what is exactly in my hand but it is seems not working ....and if I throw the computer on the floor it won't become anything instead it will be just broken. And I just cant afford to get another one ... anyway is there any one there who is having the same feelings ...
Cause sometimes I dont thinking there is a fear at all but the luck of not hear clear what we should do. God was so clear on the Bible about what to do and how to do. He used to give details about how things should be done .... but now ..He seems so quite ..or I dont know if is the world that is so loud with its opinion that we cant hear Him.

Liz Petrie May 3, 2015 at 9:46pm

Looking for a job, prayers please. I would love to listen for Gods words not mine..

Belinda G. May 3, 2015 at 1:24pm

Awesome knowledge!!! Thank you

Kalyn May 3, 2015 at 12:46pm

I love this! Such a blessing to read!

Rebecca "Becki" Stieb May 3, 2015 at 1:32am

If women (and people in general for that matter) could just realize how much Christ loves them and recognize their worth, those two things alone would totally change the way they live.