Gimmicks

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Gimmicks

Exodus 4:1–9

Moses’ Miraculous Power

Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

Matthew 8:14–17

Jesus Heals Many at Peter’s House1

When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

I have a theory that most preachers really have about three sermons they preach over and over again using different scriptures. I have met a few preachers that only have one, and if you have heard them more than once, you can preach it right along with them. Having only one sermon to preach is not a bad thing if you do it well and you preach it not just with your words, but with your life.

The other extreme is to be a preacher that goes around with a giant bag of tricks. This is the man or woman who constantly peruses Pinterest, follows the latest fads, and who pride themselves on being able to do just about anything. These are some of the best entertainers that we have today, and their secret is that they understand the psychology of our attention. They know the ebb and flow of shock and awe.

Moses was sent to Egypt to bring God’s word to Pharaoh, but he was afraid he did not have what it would take. He could still remember the Egyptian court and probably remembered that you did not show up there unless you were a master of entertainment or persuasion… or both. Those who came before the king worshipped as a God had best have gimmicks, and they needed to be top notch.

God gave him just what he wanted. Little tricks, mini-miracles if you will, to impress Pharaoh. Yet they would not be enough. Entertainers can impress us, but they do not often change hearts and minds. That takes something more. Tweet: Entertainers can impress us, but they do not often change hearts and minds. That takes something more.

Jesus brought more than just gimmicks. His followers would have loved to see fire from the sky, but instead Jesus gave them new eyes to see, new hands to feel, and new legs to follow Him. It was rarely flashy, if ever. His preaching and teaching was not loud, exciting, or uniquely entertaining. He spoke to people to get the truth, God’s Word in them, not just to them. It was not that Jesus did not have gimmicks. That water to wine routine would have made him very popular if He had repeated it. He chose to make change instead of gain favor with gimmicks.

What was the difference? Moses started off trying to impress Pharaoh, a person. Jesus only ever played for an audience of one. Jesus served God, and God sees through gimmicks.

When have you felt inadequate and wished you had a bigger bag of tricks?

Where have you experienced genuine change in your life?

How is God calling you to serve Him today?

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  1. (Mk 1:29–34; Lk 4:38–41)

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