There is no telling how many times he drove around the block. My dad was looking for a parking meter that still had some time remaining. If he could find one, he could save a nickel or two. The small town where I was born and started elementary school had a downtown area that consisted of only a few square blocks. The clothing stores, the department stores, the hardware store, the barber shop, the jewelry store and the movie theatre were all located within those few blocks. City Hall, the Post Office, the bank, and other city services such as the water department were also located downtown, so it was a busy place. When I would accompany my dad on trips to town, I would see people taking care of all types of business and shopping. All of the parking spaces convenient to those stores and places of business were metered. One car would pull out of a space, and another was waiting to take the spot. But if there was not enough time left on the meter to take care of dad’s business, he would pass it by and keep circling the block until he found one that did. Meter attendants walked the sidewalks issuing parking tickets to those cars that went over the time limit, and emptying the coins from the meters into a tall two wheel cart to turn in at the city offices. Money was tight in those days, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being frugal. There are more cars now than back then, and free parking is much more available. Merchants are looking for shoppers, and are not interested in locating where there is a charge for parking for their customers. If one can find a parking meter these days, it takes a quarter to start. Parking meters are becoming obsolete, but they typify another obstacle we should address.
Aside from being frugal, and working hard to save a nickel or a quarter, there is a larger character issue at stake here. Taken to the next level, the question becomes one of dodging responsibility to see if someone else will step up to take on the task, pay the bill, provide the help, or make the effort. If one can procrastinate or ignore the problem, maybe someone else will step forward to fix it. Maybe they can park on the other man’s quarter.
Moses had his moment to decide to take action, or park on the other man’s quarter. When speaking directly to God, he had a list of reasons he should not be chosen to lead God’s people out of Egyptian slavery. In Exodus 3:10 God said “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” After receiving that direct commission from God, Moses says (3:11) “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” In verse 12, Gods says “I will be with you.” Often in Scripture that phrase is preceded by “Do not be afraid”. It is certainly implied even if not said. There is no reason to be afraid of what I have called you to do because I am with you, says the Lord. Now in spite of that direct call, and God’s direct assurance that He would be with him, read Moses’ list of reasons/excuses to not answer the call:
- Exodus 3:13- “What if they ask me “What is His (Your) name?”
- Exodus 4:1- “What if they do not believe me?”
- Exodus 4:10- Paraphrase-What about my being slow of speech and tongue?
- Exodus 4:13- “O Lord, please send someone else.”
God’s anger then burned against Moses (4:14), and He told Moses he could take along his brother Aaron to help speak. He then told him to pick up his staff and get going, which Moses did. The rest, as they say, is history. Moses decided to answer the call. As the chosen one, he accepted his destiny. He led God’s people out of slavery by guiding them toward the Promised Land. God was with him every step of the way. He became, and still is, one of the great men of faith in the Bible. He became so close to God he was referred to as “friend.” At the end of his life, God personally buried him (Deuteronomy 34:5, 6).
Gideon also had his moment to decide to answer God’s call, and step into his destiny, or to deny the call and let someone else do the job. He had to decide if he should park on the other man’s quarter. His story is remarkably similar to Moses’. In Judges 6, we find that the Midianites had oppressed the Israelites for seven years, ruining their crops and killing their livestock. The Israelites were reduced to living in caves for shelter. In Judges 6:14, God gave a direct call and commission to Gideon “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.” In verse 14 God also gave assurance that He would be with him by saying “Am I not sending you?” After receiving a direct call, with a direct assurance, Gideon still had reasons/excuses to not answer the call:
- Judges 6:15- “But Lord, how can I save Israel?”
- Judges 6:15- “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh.”
- Judges 6:15- “I am the least in my family.”
- Judges 6:17- “Give me a sign.”
- Judges 6:36-38- Gideon asked for another sign, this time involving a wool fleece.
- Judges 6:39- Gideon asked for yet a second sign involving the fleece.
Gideon wisely requested that God not be angry with him. The Lord was patient with Gideon, worked with him in his insecurities, and ultimately led him into his destiny. Gideon accepted his call as “mighty warrior” (6:12). The rest is history. In Judges Chapter 7, the Lord led Gideon and a relatively small band of men to a smashing defeat of the Midianites. He caused such confusion in the camp that the Midianites turned their swords on each other. Israel was saved. Gideon gave God all the glory, and enjoyed 40 years of peace in the land to the end of his life.
When God calls us to do something, it is almost always something we cannot do on our own. In fact, if it is something we can do on our own without Him, it is probably not God calling. When God calls us to do something, it is related to our destiny. It is important. He is patient to work with us in our insecurity regarding his call; however, we will never complete what He uniquely created us to accomplish if we park on the other man’s quarter. When we are called we must say yes in spite of our own misgivings regarding the size of the task, our own human abilities, or the timing–whether now is convenient or not.
Moses and Gideon were normal men. God gave them a supernatural job to do. Today it is no different. He calls us to obey and trust Him and when we do, He will affect others supernaturally through us.
When we are called by God to do something, may we not procrastinate, ignore and/or look around for someone else to answer the call. May we not park on the other man’s quarter. May our first response not be “Find someone else—I’m not your man/woman.” Rather may it be like the one found in Isaiah 6:8- “Here I am. Send me.”