Yoda really doesn’t want to take on Luke’s training when the kid shows up on Dagobah looking to become a Jedi. For starters, he is too impatient - he can’t even sit and enjoy a meal first.
“He will learn patience,” comes the disembodied voice of Ben Kenobi’s Force ghost.
“Much anger in him, like his father,” is Yoda’s next argument.
“Was I any different when you taught me?” says Ben.
“He is not ready.”
Luke himself valiantly protests this one, though it is hard to argue with someone who has been training Jedi for 800 years.
After a brief tirade in which he accuses Luke of being a daydreamer and adventure-seeker (“A Jedi craves not these things,” you know), Yoda comes up with a new item for his list: “You are reckless.”
Ben steps in once again: “So was I, if you’ll remember.”
“He is too old to being the training.” Yoda is grasping at straws at this point, trying to come up with any excuse to get out of doing this task that he clearly does not want to do.
Yoda’s list of excuses reminds me a lot of a similar list that Moses made when God asked him to go back to Egypt and free the Israelites. He didn’t really want to go back - he had found a wife and a good job tending his father-in-law’s flocks there in Midian. Not even hearing the voice of God coming from a burning bush inspired enough awe to obey without questioning.
“What makes me special enough to do this job?” Moses asks.
“I will be with you.”
“Well, what if the Israelites ask me what I’m doing here? Who do I tell them sent me?”
“Tell them I AM…” and God proceeds to give a list of other descriptors Moses can use as well. In fact, he gives Moses an entire script to follow when speaking to the elders and a fairly detailed description of what will happen.
“But, but, but...what if they don’t listen to me?” asks Moses, at which point God gives him three signs involving his staff, a snake, leprosy, water from the Nile, and blood that he can perform for any doubters.
Now Moses is grasping at straws: “But I’m just not a good speaker - I have this lisp and I never know what I should say until I’ve already said something stupid. You really need to send someone else.”
“Fine,” says God, who is now fed up with Moses’s backtalk. “Your brother Aaron will go with you and speak for you. No more excuses. Now go!”
Both Yoda and Moses remind me of myself sometimes when I’m asked to do something I just plain don’t want to do. But what if, instead, I think of Luke who, despite his immaturity and whininess, really does want to learn? Or the Israelites oppressed in Egypt who would be happy for anyone to come along and be their champion, however imperfect? In the face of that, those excuses seem mighty small and petty. I pray I may remember to look at the bigger picture the next time I’m tempted to start my own list.