Monday, October 02, 2006

What's That in Your Hand?

*I was inspired by Pastor Darrell Garrett today. Click his name, or the link to the Dawghowse on the right, so you too can read his thought-provoking blog today.

What are some of the names you remember from your childhood Sunday School class? Think back on those old Bible stories to recall some of the people, and their actions, that got them honorable mention in the very Word of God.

How about Moses? Shamgar comes to mind. Gideon. Samson. Jonathan and his armor-bearer. David. The list could go on and on. What is the purpose of listing a bunch names from deep in the pages of the Old Testment? To encourage you, the reader. How? Read on.

Each of these men were just average plain guys. Sure, Moses had once been a prince in Egypt, but after killing a man he fled to the backside of the desert where he got married, and kept his father-in-law's sheep. But he had something beside a call from God. He had a shepherd's staff, the very stick that God used to reveal his wonders to a hardened Pharoah.

Shamgar? Perhaps this is a name that simply blends in with the other judges of Israel with funny names that are hard to pronounce. But his actions are anything but boring. When the enemy Philistines were attacking, Shamgar won a miraculous victory using what he used in his farming career-an ox goad. Nothing but a sharp, long stick to poke lazy oxen with when they stopped, and a flat opposite end to clean off the plow. Yet this simple piece of farming equipment in the hands of a God-inspired man delivered his countrymen from the terror these heartless attackers brought with them. Six hundred Philistines met their maker that day, because one man took a risk and let God use him and whatever was in his hand (see Judges 3).

I don't have the time to write a chapter about it, but there's Gideon's small 300-man army, Samson and the jawbone of a donkey, Jonathan and his armor-bearer against the huge Philistine army, and David and his sling versus Goliath, nine feet of solid warrior. All of these people were used by God, having only the tools of the trade, so to speak. These men stepped out in faith and believed God to move on their behalf, and each saw the miraculous happen. They were Godly risk-takers.

So, what is my point? The Philistines of our day are coming against us. Not a real army, but the forces of sin, ungodly worldviews, perversion, greed, and materialism. Students, regardless of the grade or institution, are being subjected to radical ideas from fringe people that seem to flock to our schools. MTV, Hollywood and the media send messages that are absolutely contrary to Godly morals and Biblical teaching. Am I surprised? No, darkness has always worked against the light. But we have been called by God to shine as lights in a dark place. Newsflash-God wants to use you to make an impact on this world!

So, what's in your hand? God can use you, he can use your talents, giftings, etc., to reach a world that he loved so much, that he sent his only begotten Son to die for. Perhaps you have the gift of gab, like my 4-year old daughter, quite appropriately named Gabbie. Use it. Strike up conversation. Talk to those who need to hear the message. Are you a natural leader? Are people drawn to you? There's your platform, friend. Use that influence to lead them to Christ. Is your area of expertise in song? Then sing to the world about the Savior.

Me? Well, I have a fairly easy time with computers and the 'net, and I love to write. So, for now, this blog is my staff, my ox-goad. May God use it for his glory, and may many come into the light of Jesus Christ.

What it comes down to is being a risk-taker for God. Each of the men I profiled stepped out and took a major step of faith. That isn't easy to do. But, God rewards active faith. Just ask James, who told us in his slice of the Bible that faith without works is dead. In other words, if our faith is alive and kicking, there darn well should be some vital signs. Those signs are actions done out of our faith and love for Christ. And these men didn't have much. Just the everyday tools they used to get by. God still uses yielded hearts and simple tools in our hands.

So how did Pastor Darrell's blog inspire, exactly? Simply put, there is a world out there that needs to hear our message, but we seem to speak the wrong language. God didn't create us to be clones of the countless Christians sitting in pews across America. He made me to be me. He made you to be you. So, take that heart for Christ, and that staff or ox-goad in your hand, whatever form that takes, and reach out to those that God has placed you near.

God bless!


Darrell said...

I could say a lot about this blog entry of yours today Jeff, but suffice it for me to simply say, "Excellent stuff!"

ruthrap said...

Good message, mp, I think we all have a talent we can use to further the knowledge of Jesus Christ to others... we just need to USE IT! You and Pastor Darrell are on the same page here and you have both given us some food for thought!