Moses grew up not knowing his dad, but he saw a father figure in Jethro. He was the priest of Midian, a spiritual leader, family man, and friend of God. Practically, Jethro knew how to survive in a dangerous world. He knew how to find water, grow crops, and protect his clan. Jethro had a gift of wisdom and discernment. A few years later, he paid a visit as Moses led the Israelites. He took note of his insane schedule and said, “What you’re doing is not good. You’ll certainly wear yourself out!”
In the wilderness begin looking for a coach. You’ll find the best father figures, mentors, and coaches in the family of God. Once you’ve identified someone, invite them to meet you for coffee, and buy their beverage of choice. Make it short-term, and focus on a particular challenge. Talk about it, and then listen. A good coach is someone who is a couple of steps ahead of you.
Moses didn’t sit around like a prince. Exodus 3:1 says, “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian…” When I graduated from high school, I didn’t graduate Magna cum laud. I graduated “thank the Laud!” Moses, however, was surely valedictorian. But none of that mattered anymore. No one in Jethro’s house cared about his diplomas. Moses saw a need well below his training, experience, and ability. Egyptians saw shepherds as nomadic, shady, uncivilized, and untrustworthy (Genesis 46:34). No Egyptian worth his salt aspired to become a shepherd. But the prince of Egypt put down his scepter and picked up a staff.
Slowly this natural-born leader, with a forceful personality learned to put the needs of the flock ahead of himself. He developed the patience to guide the herd at speeds they could manage. Sheep take a lot of work. Because of their poor eyesight, they’ll walk off a cliff or into a ditch. They are defenseless when attacked. When sheep grow fat, and their wool becomes heavy, they can find themselves on their backs unable to get up. They panic and flail until they die or are killed by a wild animal. In time, mighty Moses developed a heart of compassion as he tended to the needs of another’s flock. He also became an expert at wilderness survival, reading the skies, predicting the weather, and most importantly, finding food and water. Through it all, God used the sheep to prepare Moses for his future. The heat of the wilderness melted away his pride until he was clay in God’s hands.
If you’re in a season of transition today, don’t sit at home too long with the blinds pulled, door locked, and TV on. Maybe the only job is in an area far beneath your level of experience, with people who don’t give two cents about your trophies. They just want to show up, pick up, set up, tear down, and do it with a smile. It’s far better to be involved doing something for God than sitting at home waiting for a major assignment. God will use the little jobs to prepare you in ways you could never imagine. Matthew Henry put it this way, “Let those that think themselves buried alive be content to shine like lamps in their sepulchers and wait till God’s time comes for setting them on a candlestick.” One day, as he led the sheep, God brought Moses to a burning bush and his life’s calling.