Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru

God, grace, and Gideon?
May 20, 2014, 8:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

An improper perspective

I hate to admit it, but I’ve really been looking at the story of Gideon wrong. I always thought Gideon was the main character, and Judges chronicled how God used Gideon, and Gideon was a big here. But as I recently read through Judges, I noticed another character I had never noticed before.

Sure, it was there all along, but I just kind of glossed over it. And if you’re wonder why I’m using it, instead of he or she, it is because this is a genderless character: God’s grace.God’s grace is sort of a hidden character that gets overlooked, but is what makes this whole story possible.

The “hero” of the story

The first time we meet Gideon is in Judges 6:11, and he’s not being much of a hero there. But the angel calls him a mighty man of valor. We see God’s grace twofold here: that God would use a nobody like Gideon, but that God would see him as a mighty man of valor. Surely, Gideon wouldn’t be who we would see as a hero, but God, in his grace, chose to use him, and have double vision, and see him for what he could be.

Once the Lord has commissioned Gideon, the excuses started. Gideon was scared, didn’t want to go alone, and seemed to need more and more confirmation that the Lord actually wanted to use him to fight the Midianites. But, rather than huff His breath and roll His eyes, (like I would do) the Lord handles these concerns with almost no issue.

Putting up with? 

At first, I thought God was just putting up with Gideon, but that’s not the truth. God didn’t put up with him. He lovingly guided His child, and grew Gideon to where he could be used for great things! God’s handling of Gideon’s shortcomings is the exact opposite of what I would have done in this situation.

As a human, I would have been focused on the mission (the war with Midian) but God was more focused on the man. Humans tend to value the mission over the man, but the grace of God is the opposite.

A new perspective and things to learn

As I will continue to read the story of Gideon over and over in my life, I will henceforth have a new perspective of God’s grace being the key factor in this story: patiently enabling Gideon to grow and serve God. Here are some things worth learning from this story:

1-God’s grace sees people for what they can be, not what they are. In our little team of missionaries, we call this double vision: that someone may be a punk with long, dyed hair, but could one day grow to be a missionary to Peru. I am thankful that many people had this with me, and continue to have this with me.

2-God’s grace is not rude, pushy or condescending. I am all 3, usually. For example, I ask someone to do something, and they don’t. So, in poor leadership, I berate them, make them feel awful and generally cannot understand why they didn’t get it done. This is not the grace of God. Grace is patient, kind, forgiving and merciful.

3-God’s grace is more focused on the growth of the man that completing the mission. I would have handled this situation as a ruthless taskmaster, pushing to meet the deadline, checking off the to do list, and trying to defeat Midian ahead of time. God seems much more interested in growing Gideon as a man than finishing a mission. Or maybe we could say Gideon was God’s mission. This is what it takes to be a successful missionary, pastor and discipler.

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