Then the Lord said, “Go … and deliver Israel; I hereby commission you.” Gideon responded, “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest, and I am the least in my family.” - Judges 6:14-15 (NRSV)
This is the Lord’s second run at Gideon. The first time around God said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” To which Gideon responded (more or less), “Really?! Are you kidding?!!”
It’s as if God went to the wrong address (again). Instead of “mighty warrior,” God knocked on the door of Joe Schmo and said, “Hail, mighty warrior.” In response, Joe—with hair-disheveled, shirt buttons mis-aligned, wearing mis-matched socks—said, “Who me?”
It happens again and again in the Bible. You are God’s idea of a mighty warrior, as unlikely and impossible as that may seem to you.
Not long ago I heard a story about a young man who couldn’t get through a day without getting drunk. He wandered into the church through the basement door, that is AA. He was dragged upstairs to the sanctuary by his girlfriend. One day the pastor said to him, “I think you’ll be good with the youth.”
“Lady,” he said, “I think you got the wrong guy.” “No,” said the pastor, “I think you’ll be just great. Let’s go.” So he did go, and it worked out in amazing ways.
God so often passes on the obvious candidates to do her work, to run his errands, to deliver her people. She chooses stuttering Moses, sinful Isaiah, too-young Mary, too-old Sarah, even an-out-and-out total enemy, Paul—among others.
God, as a friend likes to put it, has a preferential option for the unlikely.
Remember choosing teams for this or that, and dreading being chosen last? Last … that’s God preferred material, God’s idea of a good time.
Call us, Lord, the unlikely, the last and the least. Surprise us with your wild grace, your wisdom that is not the world’s wisdom, your ways that are not the world’s ways. Amen.
Small Group Discussion
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letter to Young (and Not So Young) Ministers will be published early next year by Wipf and Stock. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.