Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Little things

The story of Gideon (Judges 7) is great. One the one side are the Midianites.  There are a lot of Midianites.  According to verse 12 the "Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts.  Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore."

In other words?  A whole lot of Midianites
On the other side?
Gideon.  300 men.  Some lamps and assorted horns.

Bad odds
And what is amazing is that Gideon actually made the odds worse
He started out 32,000 men
But being a tester he told those who were afraid to go home.  22,000 left.  I guess we should be impressed they were honest.

Then he took them down to the water and told them to get a drink
300 reached down, and while still erect brought water to their mouths with their hands
The rest got on their knees and drank….

Only the 300 were allowed to remain.  Instructions from God

So small a force
Huge enemy
And what happens.
Small force, plus God, equaled victory
As we heard the enemy were defeated and driven out of the land!
Not just a victory, a BIG victory

This is really the story
Small versus large, not just large, really large!  Overwhelming

That is what God, and faith, together can do!

Now that is not exactly news
But what I like about this story
What I love about this story
Is how god can use little things…. to defeat the big, overhwhelming things

300 men,  not 32,000, not 10,000, but 300

Our world is full of overwhelming things
Forces, powers, problems that seem… soooo big
So overwhelming

Debt Ceiling Issues
Budget Cuts
Any of you have anything overwhelming right now in your life?
What do you look at in your life?
What do you look at in the world?
That makes your feel hopeless and helpless?

I know what it is for me
I know what it is for some of you
There are hard things out there
Dark things
Difficult things
For some of us has a lot to do with us… addictions, failures
For others it is what is happening in our country, in our world

It doesn’t matter what it is…
It is the thing that feels us with fear
Takes our breath away
Makes us just want to give up!

We just reach that place where we feel there is nothing, nothing we can do to make a difference
We are just too small
Too powerless

The story of Gideon is the story for us
Because it reminds us that with God, even little things can make a big difference. . .
We are not powerless, against the things that loom over us and assail us
We are not hopeless
God can use our efforts
No matter how small, no matter how feeble
And through those small efforts, those random acts of kindness
To assail the forces that rob us of hope and love

I personally am traumatized by what I see our nation, our government doing to the vulnerable
That feels overwhelming to me.  I don’t want to live in a nation that doesn’t care for the poor, the mentally ill, the children.

And I feel powerless.  As if I have no voice.  As if there is nothing I can do!
But there is
I can trust in God.  I can be God’s.
And I can do what I can do for the people God puts in my path
I can listen.
I can find resources
I can counsel
I can love
I can make a difference, in this church, in this town, in this county…

And so can you

We can’t create legislation
We might not be able to end wars
But we are not helpless

So what is it that – as you look out there – most bothers you?
Look for the small thing you can do
For one person
The small thing you can do

And do it!
And God will be with you
And God will honor that work
And you will make a difference
Thanks be to God!

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