Great Summer Reads: Gideon, Just 1%

 
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Most employees, who desire to climb the corporate ladder, just want a chance. Pretend you get your opportunity to prove yourself to “the boss.” You are called to the top floor and given a directive. At that moment your job is to listen, accept and produce. Would you do that? Gideon didn’t, at least not immediately, as told in Judges 6.

Would you challenge or question the boss on your first assignment? Would you ask the creator of the company to prove his/her legitimacy? That’s what Gideon seemed to do. Why was I given this assignment, God? Do you really know how small I am? Can you prove that it’s really you? Again? Again? A combination of a lack of confidence and a doubting Thomas; Gideon’s reaction was recognizable.

In Voorhees, Pastor Rick discussed this Great Read of Gideon in Judges 7. Gideon accepted the mission to save God’s chosen people and amassed his forces. Every endeavor comes with a budget of time and treasure. It’s human nature to budget the maximum to insure success.

Gideon amassed 32,000+ fighters. God cut it down to 300. Use just 1% of the fighters? Gideon’s faith was challenged. Did God want him to succeed or fail? When God plants a huge challenge in your heart with limited resources do you doubt His wisdom? Huge, successful challenges with limited resources are remembered. Think David and Goliath. God needed Gideon to demonstrate the message that with His help, the 1% can overcome. Smallness matters to God because it requires faith. When man has abundance, he tends to compliment himself; God is only credited when the task seems beyond human possibility.

Pastor Rick used the example of the ancient mustard seed. A feared and banned seed because of it prolific ability to take over once it takes root. God gave us a challenge to love your neighbor as yourself and leave this world a better place. Do you resemble Gideon in your approach to that command? Do you question God’s wisdom in selecting you? Is your faith strong enough to accept that any effort in God’s name will spread?

Pastor Rick compared Gideon’s story to our efforts in Mt. Laurel. The task seems daunting and the work is tedious. But with faith, Hope has persevered and Pastor Rick is seeing signs from the town’s leadership that seeds of faith are taking root.

Pastor Rick asked the congregation to consider what would happen if they increased their offerings of time, talent and/or treasure by just 1%. What seems small or insignificant can become great when God’s work is done. A few pennies dropped in a charity box next to any cashier seems meaningless. Multiply those pennies by the hundred of thousands of stores in this country and good work can be done.

I can’t identify many assignments that God has laid on my heart, except one; accepting and being a good father to our handicapped daughter. I remember being humbled at the magnitude of the task. I remember acknowledging that my life would never be the way I projected. If I prayed at all it was for understanding and strength. By accepting this challenge I’ve seen God’s love and heart through her and sharing her story has influenced others.

Yet caring for your children should be no big deal. We are commanded to go beyond our families. We are expected to care for the infirm and help the poor and oppressed. We are expected to pray for and forgive our enemies.

Thousands of Christians have stood by while immigrants and poor were demeaned for their status in life. No lending hands, only ridicule and rebuke. Someday we will have to answer to their children and possibly ours. How can we profess to follow Jesus and let this happen? Guaranteed the day will come when we must answer to God. We can’t only follow the convenient commandments.

Not only are efforts remembered, so are those who refused to help. Historical cases of horrific revenge started with a rejection of service. In Judges 8, Gideon remembered those who refused to support his fighters. He made them wish they had joined the cause when they had a chance. Being sorry wasn’t good enough. When we ignore God’s, command we not only lose His favor but create human enemies who will remember. Consequences will follow.

Helping others shakes up our status quo. By sharing we may have less for ourselves but we are expected to break our last crumb in half if someone is in need. Yet God doesn’t ask for 50% but He does expect whatever you can do, even just 1%

Blow your trumpet, light your torch, it matters not that as a Christian you may be outnumbered in today’s secular world. God expects you to try. He will always be with you. Plant the seed by sharing your gifts. God will make sure it sprouts up somewhere. Trust your faith in His words.

Jim Randazzo

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