'The deepest nature of this crisis lies in the fact that God always demands from his servants something which is, humanly speaking, impossible. One may look at the wrestling between God and Moses in the first chapters of Exodus. Why does Moses refuse to go on his errand? Why does he think up all sorts of excuses including the not very convincing argument: "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue"? He refused to go because what God demands is “impossible”. Even if he succeeded in breaking through all the barriers of the police who were searching after him for manslaughter, of the courtiers and body-guards, and appear before his majesty the mighty ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, was there any likelihood that the Pharoah, who enjoyed divine honours and worshipped in his temples the great gods of heaven and earth, would accede to the alleged request of an unknown god who was worshipped by some of his slaves: ”Let my people go” (Ex 5:1)? It was impossible, but Moses went simply on the promise that the Lord would be with him.'
From Hermann Sasse, The Crisis of the Christian Ministry in ‘Lutheran Theological Journal’ (Adelaide), 2.1 (May 1968), pp 34-46 [Sasse quotes from the RSV, which I have updated to the ESV].I've begun posting again at 'What Sasse Said' after a hiatus of a couple of months. I'll be starting with extracts from this essay, which appeared in the theological journal of my church, known colloquially as 'the LTJ', in 1968. At the beginning of this essay, Sasse notes that there is the 'eternal crisis' of the ministry which arises from its very nature, and there is also the crisis of the ministry in a particular time and place. Sasse begins with the eternal crisis before examining the particular crisis of the Lutheran ministry in the late 20th century, hence the reference to Moses (later Sasse makes the interesting comment that the Ministry of the Word in the Old and New Testaments is essentially one, although the offices instituted to carry out have differed according to their place in salvation history).
I originally read this essay back in seminary days, although I can't remember much of it. I'm re-reading it now in quite a different context, trying to negotiate my way through my own particular 'crisis' in ministry, probably an early stage of 'burnout' (I'm due for 'long service leave' in one year, so I'm hanging in there). Well, as they say, 'every crisis is an opportunity to effect change'. I hope this essay will help in getting the 'big picture' to hang straight before I go trying to rearrange the other 'furniture' in the room; so far, so good - Moses is a good place to start!