“Stepping out” and “speaking up” for what is right, just, and true is one of the most influential things any one of us can do.
Sadly, “stepping out” and “speaking up” is difficult, threatening, and risky…which is why so many people shrink away from it, hiding safely off to the side of life.
I’ve been guiding my congregation though a conversation about the effect of our influence over the last few weeks. The conversation has occurred within the sermon series, Influencing Moses. The series considers five extremely influential women in the earliest life of Moses.
These women did not act because they knew God would work in and through Moses to rescue the Israelites from captivity in Egypt and deliver the descendants of Abraham into a land of promise!
No, these women act for one reason: they were an ally to life in the face of death!
The Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, taught us to be grounded in a healthy fear of the God – an awe for the Almighty!
The mother of the boy and the daughter of the pharaoh taught us to be responsive to the conviction of our heart (or, the guidance of the Holy Spirit).
Our final message gives attention to the sister of Moses, who I would argue plays the most influential role in early life of Moses. Exodus 2:4 describes the sister of the boy standing off at a distance (as the mother places the basket in the reeds) so that she could see what happened to her brother.
The sister, however, does not play a passive role. She is not just an overseer, because she does not remain safely hidden. She is watching as the princess opens the basket and discovers the child crying within the basket. At just right moment, as the princess takes pity upon the child, the sister “steps out” and she “speaks up!” She asks the princess if she should retrieve a nurse from among the Hebrew women to care for the boy’s needs!!!
The princess makes an incredibly influential decision when she allows the boy to live, but the sister facilitates this decision! The sister takes courage and steps out from her place of hiding. She reveals herself. And, she speaks up for the well-being of her brother! She plants the idea within the mind and the heart of the princess, who took pity upon the boy.
Essentially, the sister becomes the voice of truth and justice for the child. She gives the princess permission to acknowledge the conviction of her heart. As the princess looked upon the child with pity, the sister gave words to the feeling within the heart of the princess – “Let him live; provide him with the care that will sustain his life.”
Stepping up and speaking out is risky; but, as the sister reveals, stepping up and speaking can lead to an influence of an incalculable effect.
Our conversation, therefore, concludes with an unintended movement observed among the influence of each of these five women:
- Real influence requires being grounded in a healthy fear of God – awe of the Almighty;
- Real influence requires a willingness to respond to the conviction of the heart (or, the guidance of the Holy Spirit); and,
- Real influence (often) requires stepping out and speaking up for what is right, just, and true!
And, you can trust that an influence grounded in a love for God, responsive to the Spirit, and giving voice to what is right, just, and true will have an incalculable effect!