Thursday, May 17, 2012

You're Not Moses

I am six weeks into my membership with a toast masters club. I have been going since January but have been reluctant to join. When you join you get a couple workbooks; one that teaches you about the leadership roles necessary to run the club smoothly and another is filled with assignments that guide you in formal speech delivery and preparation. Some examples of roles in their leadership manual include a time keeper. Someone to monitor the amount of time you spend speaking to the crowd. Another role is the head toastmaster, or emcee of the evening. Their responsibility is to host the crowd and provide smooth transitions between each portion of the meeting.

The workbook with speech assignments give you tools to become a better public speaker. The first assignment’s goal is to build your confidence in public speaking. It’s also designed to show you how easy it is to find content for your speeches.

I became hesitant to join after looking through the assignment book. My hesitation was due, in part, to the fact that I already know the basics of public speaking. I know that opening with a good hook, or catch phrase captivates your audience and if successful, you have lured them in wanting to know more. With approximately a decade worth of public speaking experience, instead of building on the skills I already have, I was afraid I would be digressing.

I also considered Moses who wasn’t the most eloquent speaker (Exodus 4:10), yet led an entire nation of people in revolt against Egypt’s pharaoh (Exodus 3:7-10)

These are two reasons that slowed my obedience to God in becoming a public speaker. I eventually swallowed my pride, listened to the Lord’s promptings, joined, and as of this past Tuesday, completed my second speech at toastmasters.

I have been obedient in joining a toastmasters meeting, but there are still times I catch myself asking why, if I have experience speaking before crowds, am I at toastmasters, revisiting the basics of speech preparation. Until this week.

Possibly my greatest roadblock to being obedient to God's call of pursing public speaking was knowing that Moses wasn’t the most articulate speaker, yet he was chosen by God to transform Egypt’s prime labor force into a seperate nation. If Moses wasn’t the best with words, why must I go through this training that forces me to revisit and reuse skills I have had for years? The answer came in two parts.

First and (perhaps) foremost, Moses wasn’t the one that spoke to the Israelites. His brother, Aaron, spoke to them for Moses. Comparing myself to Moses was irrelevant. Moses barely spoke to the crowds if at all. This comparison could never disqualify me from having to be part of toastmasters.

The second part of the answer had to do with name sakes. If my life was a carbon copy of Moses’ life, I’d still have to go to toast masters, or at least take part in some formal training for public speaking and relearn the basics. Why? Because I’m not Moses, I am Tim. I’m not some adopted son of a pharaoh living as a sheep herder in the Middle East. My name is Tim and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  So comparing myself to Moses and insisting I don’t need to climb the ranks as a public speaker is just goofy, because I’M NOT MOSES.

And unless your living in the ancient middle east and share the same name, occupation, and lifestyle of the characters in the bible, perhaps your just like me: you’re not Moses (or any other biblical person for that matter), so don’t be surprised when God calls you to do something that no other biblical character has done, regardless of your likeness to any Biblical Patriarch, because, like me, YOU’RE NOT MOSES!!!

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