Unexpected Tools for Immeasurable Impact
When I watch my toddler play, I’m amazed at how he takes ordinary things, like a cardboard box and a couple blocks, and makes them into many different things that entertain him for hours. As a child, he doesn’t have in mind other things that he could use instead of “just an old box” that might be better suited for the job or build a more structurally sound building for his toys. He uses what is in front of him to complete the project and revels in what he’s built.
Reading through the book of Judges, we see this same creativity in some of the people the Lord uses. In Judges 3:15-16, we see Ehud, a left-handed man, creating his own sword to accomplish the task. In Judges 3:31, we see Shagmar using an oxgoad (a traditional farming instrument used to guide cattle) to conquer 600 of his enemies. In Judges 4:21 we see Jael, a woman, using a tent peg and hammer to do what was needed. In Judges 15:14-17, we read that Samson used a jawbone of a donkey to strike down a thousand men. Instead of seeing the way they were made as a reason not to be used—a left-handed man, a woman—or the tools at their disposal as not sufficient, these people picked up what was in front of them and obeyed.
How often do we bypass ordinary opportunities for obedience because we don’t feel that we have the right tools at our disposal? Imagine the opportunities Ehud, Shagmar, Jael, and Samson would have missed to be used by God if they would have said no to the unexpected, ordinary tools in front of them. They would have missed out on the chance of being used to accomplish God’s plan.
We serve a perfect God with perfect plans. But how often do we think that we need to be in the perfect place with the perfect talents and tools to be able to be used by him? We might think, “If I just had a bigger house, I might be more hospitable” or “when I have more of a grasp on the Bible, I will start mentoring someone” or “when my kids are older and things slow down, then I will serve more” or “when I’m older then I will start leading and sharing about Jesus.” Oh, we of little faith! Do we not believe that the Lord will supply the strength, opportunity, and ability to be used where we are? If God was able to use people with only homemade swords, oxgoads, tent pegs, and donkey jawbones to accomplish his tasks, surely he could use us!
You don’t need to wait around for what you see as the perfect time. If the Lord is calling you to it, it is always the perfect time—the perfect time to show his strength in our weakness, and his gospel grace in our imperfections. Ask God today to show you the “oxgoads” and “donkey jawbones” in your life that he might desire to use in you for his glory.