I would like to share a story with you today. John was an old man working as a genitor. Every evening after all the workers were heading home, he was getting ready to do his job. He was holding the bucket and the mop in one hand and the sweep and dustpan in the other hand. John was a kind and gentle man and he was faithfully doing his job every night. He was saying that age is not an obstacle for him to do well his job. And in spite of his week eyesight and the heavy walk he was sweeping and washing perfectly every corner of that building. His favorite place in the building was the manager office. It was bigger than the apartment where he was living. Every night he spent 10 minutes in that office looking out on the window to the spectacular view and remembering that a long time ago he had an office like that. When John was a young man he had big perspectives ahead of him. He attended the best schools, he was spending his time with the most important people on earth and having his meals with the president. His future was bright. But one mistake changed completely his life. One day while he was walking on the street he saw a stranger attacking and old man. He couldn’t just pass and do nothing so he decided to interfere between the two of them. But trying to avoid the stranger’s kick, he pushed him and the aggressor felt and hit his head on a rock. And that hit killed him. When John realized what he did he decided to run and hide instead of going to jail for killing someone. He changed his name, his look and he ran as far as he could go. This is how the young man with a bright future ahead of him, called Jim became the genitor called John. I didn’t invent this story. You all know it. It is a true story. You all know about this man, you read about him, you heard sermons about his life. It is the story of a broken dream. A story about how the big hopes and expectations of a young man hit the cruel reality of this life.
There are so many people today experiencing the story of Jim. If I think back to the time when I was in high school and at the dreams that me and my classmates had for the future, I realize that for the most of us the dreams shattered when we were hit from the reality of life. Things changed when we had to deal with the daily challenges, the bills to pay, the job to do, the children to raise. For a few of us the dreams we had while we were in high school came true. And for the fewest the achievements exceeded the dreams. I count myself between the fewest. I was dreaming to become a police officer or a lawyer, and here I am today standing in front of you as a son of the Almighty God. And at the same time I can be a policeman and a lawyer. I am called to protect the flock of God and plead the case of Jesus in front of the whole world.
You see, something happens along the way. That’s why many generations of students avoid to meet with each other after ten or twenty years after the graduated the high school. For many the shame of their failure is to big. Maybe they were popular while they were in the high school, they had the best clothes, the nicest cars, and they were dreaming about changing the world. But today they might be divorced, with a poor job, and with a lot of extra pounds. To change your direction in life is not a problem but to lose motivation it can be a tragedy. To many of them live their lives looking back with nostalgia to the good times instead of looking ahead.
But let’s get back to our character. The old man and genitor, John. That evening something extraordinary happened to him. While he was washing the floor he heard a voice from the water bucket. Amazed and a little scared he tried to get closer to the bucket when the voice said: “stop, you are standing on a holy floor.” Then John realized who was the One speaking to him. It was God. Do you know now who is the man I am talking about? His real name is Moses. And like I said we all know his story. He was adopted by the royal family in Egipt, raised in the pharaoh own palace. He received the best education and grew up eating with the most important people of that time. But in his heart Moses was still a Jew. So when he saw hoe an Egyptian was beating a Jew he couldn’t stay away. I don’t know if Moses planned to kill that man but this is what happened. And from that moment his whole life changed completely.
Let’s open our bibles to Exodus 3:1-18. Moses understood that after what happened he needed to run from Egypt, to hide and to change his identity. He was also forced by the circumstances to change his job. Instead of a scribe with a nice office and beautiful clothes he became a shepherd. He was eating now with uneducated people and he was dressed almost as a beggar. A brilliant Jew with a bright future ahead of him that became an old shepherd with no ambition and no future. From “I can do anything I have on my mind” he got to “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” This is the attitude of a man with broken dreams.
On the other side we can’t really blame Moses for his reaction. What could an 80 years old man do. If God would have asked him to do this 40 years ago when he was young, bold and confident in himself it would have been so different. Then he was a man with influence, courage and he knew how to speak to be heard. But to be asked to do something like this when you are 80 and you spent the last 40 years of your life hiding and feeding the sheep is a different story. Who would need this kind of adrenaline and challenge when you are 80? Nobody would. And nobody would think an 80 years old shepherd would be the right person to ask to do this hard and challenging task.
But not God. God knew the things that we don’t know. He knew the things that Moses didn’t knew about himself. Moses had to learn some lessons and live some experiences before he could go in mission and do what God was asking him to do right. How could he lead an entire nation for 40 years through the wilderness when he had only seen in the pictures how wilderness looked like? He lived the first 40 years of his life in comfort and luxury. He had no idea what it means to eat what you find and walk all day in the burning sun. He had to learn how hard life in the wilderness can be. How could he lead so many families if he didn’t know what family life is. He had to get married, have children and go through the experience of being a man that provides for his family. The most of us know how different it is to be single than to be married. It’s a whole different reality. And there is one more question that I will bring to your attention. How could he lead almost 2 million people in the wilderness for 40 years with a temper like he had when he was young? Moses had to learn patience first. And he learned that through being a father, a husband, working hard in the field and dealing every day with simple, uneducated people. We read then in Numbers 12:3 “Moses was a very humble man. He was more humble than any other man on earth.” When you lead and you answer for the people of God you need to have the right temper to do it. Moses wasn’t ready for such a mission when he was 40, but he was ready at 80.
There are challenges and works that God has in store for each one of us no matter the age that we have. He has plans for us while we are young, he has different works planned when we are adults, but He is also challenging us as we grow old. If you are at that point in your life when you only look back to the years when you were fervently serving God then you are in trouble. The Lord Himself is telling you this morning to get up and get to work because you are not done yet. We can retire from our day to day jobs but nobody can retire from serving in God’s Kingdom. Maybe it is only now that you are ready for what the Lord has planned for you. We all found ourselves at one point in Moses shoes. To believe that the task we received from the Lord is to big for us. But even if we have doubts and we are worried, we need to learn to live by faith not by sight. What the Lord did through Moses proves once again that we don’t know ourselves the way God knows us. We don’t really know what’s inside of us and what we are capable to do.
We will end today reading from Philippians 1:6. And I would like to ask everyone a question: When is the Lord saying that He will end His work in us? When we are 20, 40, 60, 80? No brothers and sister. He will end it in the day of Jesus Christ. God is telling each and every one of us today, that He is not through with us. If we are breathing this morning then it is because the Lord still has things planned for us to do. If we decide do embrace His challenges and allow Him to help us overcome our fears, then the things He will do through us will exceed our dreams. May the God of peace and grace bless us all with the faith to accept His will and the courage to do it.