One of the things over which I’ve always identified with the Gideon story is that little bit about the fleece. Gideon becomes so real at this point – not some bigger-than-life Old Testament patriarch with tons of faith doing impossible things I would never attempt in a million years, but a regular guy, full of fear, and superstitiously looking for a sign. Really. If you’re really with me, Lord, I’m going to put out this lamb’s coat tonight – make the fleece wet and the ground dry. And then when God did what he asked, he switched it on Him. Okay, just in case that was a coincidence, Can you do that one more time, except this time, make the fleece dry and the ground wet? Don’t you love the way Gideon asked this? “Please don’t be angry with me,” he pleads with God in Judges 6:39, “but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.”
Come on … this is on the same level as “Don’t step on the cracks in the sidewalk; it’s bad luck.” Or going “two out of three” when the first coin toss didn’t go the way you wanted. Doesn’t it seem awfully childish? And yet God met Gideon there, and gave him what he asked for.
Haven’t you ever done something like this? Have you ever tested God? Have you ever asked for just one little sign to boost your faith? I have. Quite a number of times, in fact. And one time, He actually did a miracle. It was quite some time ago, but I never forgot it.
I was going through a particularly tough time when I was praying alone in my bedroom and I suddenly got this desire to ask God to show up. “No big deal,” I remember saying. “You can just shine a little light over there in a dark corner, as long as it’s something I know I didn’t talk myself into.” Well, nothing happened, and I honestly felt kind of spiritually embarrassed, if that’s possible. I realized at that point I was being more superstitious than faithful. God was just asking me to be faithful. I was too smart for what I asked for. I already knew it was better to believe with seeing, so I sucked it up and kept going.
The next day, having long forgotten my little testing episode from the day before, I was dialing my booking agent, something I did almost every day, when a woman answered the phone. I knew it was a designated business line to only my (male) agent, so I immediately said, “Oh I’m sorry; I dialed the wrong number.”
“Not so fast,” said the voice on the other end. “Maybe you didn’t. Are you a Christian?”
“Well … yes,” I said, stunned.
“Good. Then I have a message for you.”
“Okay,” I said, with not even a chance to think.
The voice went on with the message in three brief sentences followed by a long pause: “Fret not. His grace is sufficient. Serve the Lord with gladness.”
“That’s it?” I asked, breaking the silence.
“That’s it,” she said. “Have a nice day.”
It actually wasn’t until a couple hours later that I recalled my request the day before. God had done me one better. He had shown up in a way that was unmistakably miraculous, but not just to perform a little song and dance. He had brought me a message, clearly mine, because it addressed all my major issues: worry, grace, and action. And it’s a message I need right now, more than ever. It’s a life message I obviously never forgot, and maybe one you could use right now, too.
Don’t worry (my usual nemesis). His grace is all you need (it’s where the power comes from, as with Gideon). Serve Him, happily (something that worry and powerlessness will thwart unless overcome).
Now I’m not suggesting we all start asking God to do somersaults for us; I am suggesting we realize He is an intensely personal God who will meet us at whatever level we need, and I am suggesting we listen for his personal word to us from the scriptures, from someone else, or from simply having it born in our hearts by His Spirit. And I am suggesting you’ll know it is from Him because, like He did with Gideon, He will be asking us to do something on His behalf, and reminding us not to worry, because He will give us the power to do it.
We’ve got a big mission. We are to let the whole world know that Jesus saves, that God has provided a way back to Him through Christ, that His arms are open to welcome any and all who come, and that the grace by which He has touched our lives is not to stop there, but to be turned outward to others. And whatever you need to do that will be provided.
We’re looking for 300 MemberPartners ready to serve the Lord with gladness and let people know about Jesus and what He’s done for us. We can make a significant difference in the world simply by introducing people to Christ. Pray about joining us today. When you become involved as a MemberPartner, we become more involved in helping you do that.