A Fitting Title
Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior." Gideon answered him, " But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeded that our ancestors recounted to us, saying,'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian." Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Median; I hereby commission you." He responded, "But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The Lord said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them." Judges 6: 11-16 (NRSV)
Mighty warrior. What a strange greeting! The title didn't seem to fit Gideon at all. He did not look like a brave hero. He looked more like a frightened farmer. He was threshing wheat in secret to hide it from invaders. Fearful and discouraged, he was convinced that the Lord had abandoned his people. Even more, Gideon considered himself the least important person in his family. How could he possibly be called a mighty warrior? And how could the Lord trust him with the task of rescuing God's people?
Meditating on this story, Marion Speicher Brown, from Florida, could understand Gideon's reluctance to accept the lofty title and task. It's easy for us to feel similarly unqualified when God calls us as "ambassadors for Christ" and trust us with a ministry of reconciliation. (See 2 Cor.5:19-20). Who is Marion to bear a lofty title and task, or any one of us?
But the promise of God's constant presence is what allows us to fill the role and live up to that title. "The Lord is with you," said the angel to Gideon. "I am with you always," says Christ to his ambassadors (Matt. 28:20). Christ's empowering presence qualifies us to do God's work in the world.
Now is the time for Christ's ambassadors to trust in their Lord and do whatever we can to serve in this time of need.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, with the sure promise of your presence, we serve gladly as your ambassadore. Amen.