I love to sew. It relaxes me. It excites me to successfully finish a project. But, I must confess that I don’t like every aspect of sewing. I don’t like a lot of the preparatory work. Cutting out a pattern is really annoying to me. I also hate to mark fabric in preparation for sewing. But, the preparation is necessary. Without it, there’s no way I can produce a suitable project.
Often in life, the need to lay the groundwork isn’t nearly as obvious as it is when it comes to sewing. But the need is still very real and very present. As I studied Exodus 5 recently, I noticed a very clear example of Moses laying groundwork.
Exodus chapters three and four give us a glimpse of Moses’ interaction with God at the burning bush. Here Moses is informed that he is to be God’s messenger to Pharaoh, and that he is to demand that Pharaoh release God’s people. Exodus 5:1 sees Moses and Aaron entering the presence of Pharaoh to insist that he release God’s people. But, the first word of the chapter is an interesting one. That word is “afterward”. Backing up to the last three verses of Exodus 4, we see Moses and Aaron speaking to the Israelites themselves, letting them know that God has heard their cries for freedom and that their release is soon to come. They are laying the groundwork. They are preparing. They are patiently walking through each step of the plan rather than running first to Pharaoh.
When we look at the example of the Exodus, we see that things got much worse for Moses and the Israelites before they got better. But, God had already given Moses each step – each bit of information needed – to complete the task set before him. And Moses followed in obedience with every step, no matter how difficult. Because of that, he successfully led the people each step of the way through the Lord’s deliverance of them.
How do we respond to the preparation? To those annoying little tasks that must be done before we get to the main task? If we are easily distracted by them, or even try to avoid them, we will find ourselves at the very least having to backtrack and make up for our failures. Even worse, we might find ourselves completely derailed in the completion of our assignment.
If, on the other hand, we persevere in our determination to complete every task, no matter how big or small, we will see God work in tremendous ways to accomplish His purposes through us.
Diligence, obedience, and perseverance even in the little things all add up to a well-completed project.