We all know the story of Moses.
Fleeing Egypt as a murderer, he ends up tending sheep in the wilderness for 40 years. Was this the dream Moses had for his life? Probably not. Life as a fugitive was a far cry from the one he knew growing up in the Pharaoh’s house.
But God had a different plan for him and chose an interesting way to reveal it.
Let’s talk about the famous burning bush.
Most likely, this wasn’t the first fire that Moses would have seen while out with his sheep; brush fires were common in the dry wilderness of Israel.
What I find interesting about the account in Exodus, is that this time Moses noticed the brush fire and actually said, “I will turn aside and see this great sight.” All of a sudden, this normal thing was great and Moses chose to pay attention. This is intriguing; as this was something he’d undoubtedly seen before.
Rabbinical teaching finds this intriguing, too, citing this “turning aside” as a life changing moment for Moses; indeed, for a whole nation. From our vantage point, we easily see that God was up to something amazing here, but Moses could just as easily have missed it if he had chosen not to notice the fire long enough to see that it was unusual.
What would have happened if Moses had just passed that bush by and written it off as just another brush fire? What might have changed if he had chosen not to pay attention?
Life is full of things to pay attention to. And every day, just like Moses, we make choices about where we’ll turn aside and what mundane and ordinary things we’ll notice. I can notice that the garbage is full; I can notice that my neighbor has done something different with his yard and that my wife has cut her hair.
But it’s what I do when I notice that triggers a new chain of events. I can empty the garbage, congratulate my neighbor on his hard work, or tell my wife how great she looks. This is a different kind of turning aside, a deeper noticing that begins to turn even the most mundane of things into holy ground.
Because God is always up to something and like he used Moses, he wants to use us.
Unfortunately, a lot of us live our lives so self-focused that we continually pass by burning bush after burning bush, chalking up each one as mundane and routine, brush fires we’re just used to and don’t need to enter into. The result? We never get to experience holy ground. But what would change for us—and maybe someone else—if we began to see? Notice? Pay attention? Turn aside?
What does God want you to stop and notice and really see?
Who does God want you to stop and notice and pay attention to?
Each one of us can experience what Moses did. Noticing has the power to transform the everyday into holy ground, beginning a way in which we can walk alongside someone on their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.
Q Place Midwest Regional Director