Barb was out on her shopping day, her weekly one afternoon break from caring for 3 boys, and she relished her Friday afternoons alone. That meant Friday dinner was up to me – since we used to own 2 pizza delivery stores in the 1980′s, making home made pizza was a natural choice, and Friday became pizza night when the boys were young.
By the time all things were set Barb had arrived home, we put away the groceries, and I had the kitchen to myself. I decided to make cupcakes for dessert and surprise everyone. Barb had recipes, so I set to work. When the oven was preheated and the batter ready to be poured, I placed the paper cupcake cups neatly how I thought they should be, and poured batter into the first one.
It completely flattened out, batter running all over the cookie sheet like lava from a volcano. Cookie sheet you ask? Yes, I had never made cupcakes before and I had arranged the paper cups on our biggest cookie sheet, all ready to receive the batter. Hmmm, I thought, that first one must be defective, too weak to hold the batter. So I poured the batter into a 2nd one, and it too flattened out, and now I was totally confused.
Was the whole package of cupcake cups defective! Maybe you nest 2 cups or 3 to give them strength, but I can’t recall Barb ever doing that. I read and re-read the recipe…it said ‘pour batter into cups’…simple enough, that’s what I was doing! Duh! What could possibly be wrong?!!?
“BARB!!! I need your help!” I yelled, accepting defeat, realizing I must be doing something wrong. I yelled I was making cupcakes so she arrived on the scene like a 911 responder, took one look and started laughing so hard I thought she’d pee her pants or bust a gut. She couldn’t talk she was laughing so hard, tears streaming down her face, then she’d start to talk and then start laughing again. I was humiliated, confused, and didn’t have a clue how I had missed it. My heart was to be a blessing, but I had messed up.
Gradually her laughter settled down and she wiped away enough tears to reach into a cabinet and through her laughter pull out a cupcake pan and put it on the counter. “THIS!” she started laughing again, “is what you use!” She turned on her heels still laughing and shaking her head, leaving me to clean up the aftermath of the Vesuvius-like flows of batter slowly making their way off the cookie sheet and onto the countertop.
Example #3: Moses, fear & revelation
If you formed your theology from Hollywood or most sermons, you probably think Moses received the call to deliver Israel from Egypt at the burning bush – nothing could be further from the truth.
Steven says in Acts 7: 22-25 when re-telling the history of his people: “And Moses was educated in all the ways of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. And when he was full 40 years old it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he avenged him that was oppressed and killed the Egyptian, for he supposed his brethren would have understood how God by his hand would deliver them from the Egyptians, but they understood not.”
The confusion and fear Moses faced wasn’t because his daughter had died like Jairus, nor because Someone was walking on the water to him like Peter, no, this fear and confusion was his own doing. He had the revelation correct, that he was the deliverer, but he assumed others had that same revelation.
Not only did he assume his brethren would know he was the deliverer, he made decisions on that assumption. He thought they’d rally around and start a civil war because all his education and life experience said that was what to do. He applied a genuine revelation from God to his own education and ideas, planned in his mind how God would make it come to pass, and acted on it, missing God altogether.
That assumption cost him 1/3 of his life. He was 40 when he killed the Egyptian, and he was 80 when the Lord appeared to him and told him they would be delivered not by armed conflict, but by signs and wonders.
Let me put 1/3 of Moses’ wasted life in perspective to our time. For a person who would expect to live to 75, that means when he was 25 it came into his heart to do God’s will, but missed it, not getting back on track until he was 50. Do you know someone like that?
We are told when they rejected him, Moses ‘fled at this saying’. The Greek word ‘fled’ is ‘pheugo’, which means ‘to run away as a fugitive’, and you can see the English ‘fugitive’ in the ‘pheugo’ root. Moses didn’t just casually walk away shaking his head. He was now a fugitive from justice, rejected by the very people God had shown him he was to deliver, and now a criminal being sought by the Egyptian king!
Moses was confused, humiliated, and didn’t have a clue how he had missed it. He was sure he had a revelation from God, he thought he knew God would use his education and training to start a civil war, but his effort at entering God’s perfect will and call on his life was rejected by all. (My series this month, ‘Why those wasted years weren’t wasted’, goes into more detail on that subject)
Why he was ok with launching a new career
Hebrews 11:24 reveals more: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”
Why would someone raised in Egypt’s royal family make such a decision? Verses 26-27 answer that: “Esteeming the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was mindful of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, but endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
The word ‘esteeming’ means ‘to lead before the mind’ and ‘to look away from all else to focus on one object’. It means ‘to lead the mind with Christ so as to turn from all else to focus on Him’.
When he knew he missed it but didn’t know how, instead of submitting to fear, instead of wallowing in self-pity and confusion, he turned away from his mistake and focused on the inner value and esteem he placed in Christ. Even though he missed it, he did so unto the Lord, and that would not be wasted. “He endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” He didn’t see Him except in his heart, but He endured as if looking at Him.
At this point he knew more about what WASN’T God’s will than he did of what WAS His will. We too must reject fear and confusion when we miss it, and be about what we know to do for the time being, for in doing what we know to do He can direct us. Even God can’t steer a parked car. Get moving.
There would one day be a ‘payday’ for him of doing God’s will for his life, and he held that ‘payday’ in higher esteem than anything on earth. With that revelation held dear to his heart, he left Egypt, the land he was called to, left the people he was called to help, and began another career – that of a shepherd, and he did so for 1/3 of his life, always wondering about that ‘incident’ when he was young and how it all fit together.
We have seen Jairus being told not to fear but be re-directed to what he originally believed, and Peter not fearing because he focused on the fact Jesus is the Christ, and so ignored the storm swirling around him. Now we have seen Moses who refused fear and confusion based on internal revelation and the value he placed on knowing Christ, and went about his business until the Lord gave him further revelation.
So what if you made your cupcakes not knowing what you were doing – the idea was right, the application was wrong. The right way to do it will be revealed, and you can end up having cupcakes for dessert after all, as we did that night.
More next week, until then, blessings,