Use What You Don’t Have

“And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.”
(Exodus 4:2 KJV)

There is a blues song that goes something like this: “I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.” I imagine that Moses felt the same way going to a people from whom he had been separated for decades and speaking to people in power who were more than a bit aloof to the suffering of those serving them. Moses felt as if he didn’t have much. God told him to use even something that might seem worthless. I hear God saying the same and to use what we do not have.

Since our return to Philadelphia a few years ago, we have been in language study. We still do know American English; however, we had to learn how to speak using terms and concepts from which we have been far removed for almost 20 years while we served in Kenya.

Terms such as pro-life or healthcare debate don’t roll off our tongue as easily as malaria epidemic or malnourished orphans. We speak a different language, and we have had to really use what we don’t have to gain momentum for the causes to which God has called us.

We used what we did not have. Using our home church as our base, we sent out a survey to churches and the community asking them what were the most pressing problems they faced. Our initial idea was that pro-life and the healthcare debate would be very high on the list. But when the surveys were returned, we realized just how naïve we were. We did not even ask the right questions. People wrote in their own responses. The principal one was “We need mentoring for our young men and women.”

With nothing in our hands to do this, we turned to those who had the calling. God used them to shape our cause.

We participated in two large forums on pro-life among African American Christian leaders. Our focus has been more in tune with promoting families; not just on the woman and her child, but on the circumstances that led to her impregnation, including how to involve the father of the child.

We have worked on promoting counseling and a gun buy-back program as well as rehabilitation and reuniting Returning Citizens (a.k.a. those released from jails), and are moving toward establishing a healthcare center for those who “fall between the cracks” in the medical system.

We started out with nothing, but it becomes clearer day by day that God is moving in our lives to make a difference, especially in areas that we know nothing about.