Unlikely Leadership

By in Devotions

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.Lamentations 3:22-23

Insight

Some mornings I have to crouch down at the edge of my backyard patio and plunge my palm into the grass just to make sure. Without fail, I walk back in the house with a wet, grassy hand every time—His mercies are new every morning.  I don’t know exactly why I think I might not find dew on the ground, but ailments of the human condition such as self-doubt and denial are probably part of it.

This point plays out in the story of Gideon found in Judges 6 and 7. God appoints Gideon to lead an army into an ever-treacherous battle against the malicious Midianites. Along with other tribes from the east who had invaded a vulnerable nation in Israel (in part because of their own sins), the Midianites were an oppressive force who had taken up residence in Israel. They killed all the crops along with every “living thing” in Israel. Gideon’s appointment was a divine one; it had to be. Otherwise, we would surely not know of a Gideon from the Old Testament because he would have easily shirked the job to someone else, and that would have made sense.

In an ordinary sense, Gideon was not the right guy for the task at hand. Already in a wary position threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord visited Gideon. Calling him “mighty warrior,” the angel told him “The Lord is with you.” Gideon was immediately skeptical, and based on his estimations, rightfully so. He reminded the Lord his clan was the weakest in his region and to top it off, he was considered the “least” in his family. He asked, “how can I save Israel?”

This sort of doubt and denial creeps in all too often in our respective worlds. When we are wondering how we can make a noticeable impact in our world, we forget to consider a God who is always with us and always leading us. We think, “I’m not meant to climb trees but to stay on the ground.” In harder times, we can even resort to questioning our purpose in this world altogether.

Although Gideon was a dark horse for leading a force against a much mightier foe, he had God right by his side. God promised Gideon, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

Gideon’s faith was shaky. He did not want this to be his “call.” Even so, God took him through a series of instructions to prepare him for battle. Still in denial, Gideon requested one more sign from God. He asked that God soak only his fleece with morning dew and leave everything else around it dry. God obliged this request. Still waffling, Gideon asked for the opposite to happen and God showed His power once again. These signs caused Gideon to surrender his trust to the Lord and lean on His guidance. Not long after, Gideon and his clan defeated the Midianites.

So many times in life we question what our position of influence should be (or if we are influential at all). The problem is, we leap at different ideas of that in a horizontal way. Some of those ideas are noble, but all the while we need to think vertically. God wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to draw close to Him when we are on the ropes. He already knows just how to position us and wants to stay with us through it all. His plans involve using us to produce results in people and for Him.

What might all this look like from the front lines? For some of us, God might be pushing us to follow Him deeper in the work we do. Others of us might find that God is priming us to influence others in that place that is “right under your nose.” It might even be that simply our ability to listen and be available makes a massive impact. It could take a little time, but nobody discerns time better than God.

Considering all that God can do, we are all unlikely candidates to make an impact. But, God does have something in His heart and in His mind for us. After all, we are made to worship Him and serve those around us, so that others can see His image through our actions and words. Yet, we only experience this by being still and accepting His grace daily.

God gives us this reminder as evidenced through morning dew. The writer of Lamentations expressed this even in the midst of despair (Lamentations 3:23). We encounter self-doubt because we are human. He has new mercies for us every morning though. He is at work leading us so that we might lead for the underlying purpose that is making Christ’s love known.

We might be unsure of a “calling” or gift to be leveraged for service. However, God makes no mistakes. If we align ourselves vertically by listening to Him and leaning on Him, our sphere of influence becomes abounding and unquestionably productive.

Reflection

  • What are you already doing that God could be calling you to lead with greater influence?
  • How can you use what’s been given to you (time, gifts, talents, resources, etc.) to bless and serve someone else?

Prayer

Father God, I do thank you for Your continual support. You are good and Your mercies are new every morning. Help me to trust in that, so that I might fully trust in You to shape how I influence others. Remind me of my ultimate purpose which lies in worshipping You and serving others through You. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.

PC3 writer Adam King wrote today’s devotional.