Monday, July 8, 2013

The Impact We Make

Yesterday at church, someone asked me how things were going in preparation for our team and family going to Zambia.  I explained that this experience is already so different from the last time I went because I only had to prepare for myself.  There are many details each person needs to take care of in preparation for the trip and since our entire family is going we also need to prepare for the minor details of having a house-sitter, etc.  I told my friend that even though I'd gone on a mission trip before, I still didn't properly calculate the amount of time spent in doing all the preparations for the family.  None of the physical preparations are difficult, but when you add all the details times five it is time consuming!  Everything ranging from getting shots to making sure everyone has enough appropriate clothing to take on the trip just requires a bit of organization and planning.  I'm definitely not complaining because whenever I think of the fact that God has called our family to go together I am completely humbled.  But I did joke with my friend that God probably kept me from totally grasping all the responsibilities so He could take me by the hand do each thing as they come.  Gideon's story is a lot like that.  God told Gideon up front the call He placed on him; however, He also gave Gideon step by step directions as they needed to be done.  I ended last week with a look at God calling Gideon to tear down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole in preparation for what was next.  I want to look at the last few verses of that part of Gideon's story today.  Please use the link and read Judges 6:28-32.

Something I didn't mention too much in Friday's post was the fact that aside from Gideon needing to believe God, this was was the first point of action that God required from Gideon.  But I believe it was a necessary and significant action that God had Gideon do.  Tearing down the altar and pole and replacing them with an altar to God was the first step in getting Israel back to putting God in the place of honor.  Just because Gideon's heart was refocusing on God didn't mean the rest of the people in his town were focused on God.  But God needed them to see that it was He who was delivering Israel from the Midianites.  If God would have let Gideon keep the altar and pole in place, the people would have continued their worship to these false and detestable gods and they may have questioned which god delivered them.  When God moves His hand, He will make sure that there is no doubt that it was Him.

Notice the people's reaction when they saw the altar and pole replaced with an altar to God.  They didn't rejoice in their Creator; rather, they came to Joash (Gideon's father) and demanded him to turn Gideon over.  Joash's response was incredible because he told the people that if Baal was really a god, he could defend himself.  His response makes me wonder why the altar and pole was on his property in the first place.  Did he worship Baal or because his family was so weak, was the altar and pole placed on his property without permission?  Or did he have a change of heart about worshiping only God because of Gideon's encounter with God?  We don't know Joash's heart, but what we do know was that in that moment Joash seemed to be declaring who was truly the One and Only God.  As God was changing Gideon's heart in preparation for serving Him, He was also changing the people around Gideon.

Have you ever considered that as God is working on your heart and preparing you for what is next in your story, your story is having a direct impact on the people close to you?  As we follow God's direction for our life, our actions will be speaking to others.  We have a choice - we can ignore God's purposes for our life and not leave a distinguishable mark of where we have been, or we can choose to follow God and leave a mark with each and every step we take.  Trust me, the preparation for the call is just as impactful as the call itself!

Are you following God and letting Him prepare you for what is next?  Is your life leaving an impact on the people around you?

This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.

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