|I wore my Blue Ridge Respect T-shirt to the gym today. My former co-workers are starting the school year without a contract. I am grateful, but sometimes still surprised, to no longer be a K-8 counselor. |
I thought I was living into my potential- creating curriculum, teaching every day, leading small groups, counseling individuals, mediating conflicts, manipulating master schedules to maximize learning. But God had something different in mind.
Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. The Lord’s messenger appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” Judges 6:11b-12 (CEB)
God saw something in Gideon that he did not see himself. That perhaps no one had noticed. Gideon was hiding out. He was working stealthily to feed people. Already thinking on the group level. But he didn’t imagine another role for himself.
But Gideon replied to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.” Judges 6:13 (CEB)
Gideon used the word “us” six times in his answer. Though the Lord’s messenger addressed him personally by an individual identity. That he did not recognize or embrace. Yet. Maybe that was what God saw. A heart for the people. His community. The Lord’s messenger called it out in him.
Remember a time when someone saw something in you? Potential that you didn’t know and that others didn’t see. Or perhaps you have been the messenger. You name that potential in others. Call them forth into something new. This insight is a gift. Though sometimes it is hard to receive.
But again Gideon said to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my household.” Judges 5:15 (CEB)
Our shortcomings, seeming lack of preparation, and weaknesses may disqualify us in our own eyes. Sometimes we don’t recognize how these very things can be assets for God’s work. Giving us teachability, humility. Causing us to rely on the Lord. And on others. To not expect and crave the credit for ourselves.
Maybe you are being called to a new venture. To use your skills in ways you hadn’t expected. Perhaps God has sent a messenger to name potential that was previously hidden. Or you are being called to encourage someone to step forward. To strengthen them with your words.
In whatever place you find yourself today. Whether you are hiding, or are stepping forward in faith. Whether your situation is changing, or you need to see the same circumstances with new eyes. Whether you are arguing with the messenger, or are gripped with fear.
So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it “The Lord makes peace.” Judges 6:24(CEB)
May you know that the Lord sees you. That the Lord knows you. That God sees your potential, even when no one else does. May you know that you are not alone. The Lord is with you. As you offer up your gifts on the altar, may you know the fire of the Spirit that ignites them. And may we recognize and embrace the message of peace.
Order of Service: 8/18
Sermon: “The Word of God”: Does it mean what you think it means?
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