I recently listened to a sermon by Rev. Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Church, titled “Holy Discontent” and was powerfully inspired by stories he shared. Here’s a link to the free download http://billhybels.com/downloads.asp. I believe the purpose of the talk was to connect us to what God is calling us to do vocationally through a powerful emotion: anger. And by vocation I don’t necessarily mean our job or work, but rather what we must do to fulfill the role God has for us in His story. It’s bigger than a job, but it might be a part of your job.
I was attracted to Bill Hybels website since I had recently read his book The Power of a Whisper. I’ve read others of his books, listened to sermons and actually worshipped at Willow Creek Church several years ago. In reading “Whisper” it became apparent that Hybels listens to God and that has made all the difference in his life and ministry. So, it was doubly interesting to me that Bill’s sermon is anchored in the story of the anger Moses felt at the oppression of his people, the Israelis, by the Egyptians. And the sermon is co-anchored in, well, the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man. So, I commend the sermon to you.
Here’s what the message brought to me as the Holy Spirit applied the stories and images to my own experience. The Lord helped me see that I am angered that Christians don’t feel how much God loves them and know that He has a role for them to play in His larger story. And non-believers don’t realize or know that God is very near to them. Part of the reason that I know those are passions of mine is because I begin to weep when I share them with someone. It stirs my soul because I’ve experienced that unconditional love.
In reading Exodus 3-4, I see this amazing story played out in living color. A couple of things struck me. Moses passion to see his people set free was burning deep within his heart for decades. I’m sure he must’ve wondered if he was ever going to get to live out of that anger and emotion. Finally, it would become clear that God shared his concern for the Israeli people and He heard their groaning and their cries for help. So, God had to break into Moses’ routine to get his attention and whisper His message to Moses. God is so creative and puts a flame in a bush near where Moses was working and speaks from it. Then there is remarkable dialogue between God and Moses that leads to a negotiated action plan.
So, here’s a formulaic analysis of what we see here.
Moses’ anger x Time + God hearing cries of Israelis (remembering His promise) = Action plan
Pretty amazing story. Nothing exciting going on in your life? When was the last time you got angry about injustice or something lacking in your domain? When do you see a lack of understanding or love or food or water or clothing or God’s Word? Want to see some action in your life? Get angry about something and take that anger to God and see what He does.