I am up to the book of Judges in my current “read through the Bible.” The first judge mentioned is Othniel. That name resonated with me since there was a student in the first grade class I volunteer for named Othniel. I’ve never met a real life Othniel before. I thought that was pretty cool.
in any event, “The Lord raised up a deliverer for the Israelites, Othniel, Kenaz’s son, Caleb’s younger brother, who rescued them. The Lord ’s spirit was in Othniel, and he led Israel. When he marched out for war, the Lord handed over Aram’s King Cushan-rishathaim. Othniel overpowered Cushan-rishathaim”(Judges 3:9, 10 CEB).
It only took one. It only took one Spirit-led person to rescue God’s people from their enemies. It only took one faithful leader to turn the tide. It only took one to make the difference.
Perhaps when I am feeling like Elijah, having a pity party, feeling like I am the only one who really cares, I need to be reminded what a difference one can make. It only took one perfect life and one sacrifice on the cross save many. It only takes one faithful person, led by God’s Spirit, to bring a message. It only takes one to influence so many others.
It’s conflicting. I don’t to be the only one, yet at the same time, I sometimes pray that I will be the one.
I wasn’t all that thrilled with last Sunday’s sermon. It was OK, but I wasn’t sure I really connected with the congregation.
Then I began to get some unusual feedback. Unusual because it went beyond the usual, “That was a good sermon, Pastor.” The first comment at lunch that day was, “When we heard the sermon, we knew what we had to do.” Another person three days later told me, “Once we heard your sermon, we were no longer undecided. We had to get involved.” Yet another listener emailed me during the week and stated, “After the sermon, I applied for a local volunteer position, and was immediately accepted.” Not just one, but three people took action because of something they heard in the sermon.
My text and topic really isn’t relevant here. The truth is, I should know better by now. After twenty-seven years of preaching I should know that God’s Word will not return to Him empty, but will always accomplish what He intends. Sometimes I get to hear about the response. Other times I don’t. But I should know that He will do exceedingly more than I ask or imagine. But I am still surprised sometimes.
So I am either putting too much pressure on myself, or I am not trusting God very much. Or I am guilty of both. In any event, when I do get some feedback like that, I know I can relax a little and trust God more. And I can do that right now, because Sunday is always just few days away.