The Israelites again did evil in the LORD’s sight,
so the LORD handed them over to the Philistines
for forty years. There was a man named
Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe.
His wife was infertile and childless.
Because of disobedience, the Israelite’s find themselves under the rule of the Philistines. Yes, God’s people found themselves subject to those who were not God’s chosen because they were constant breakers of the covenant God had made with them. Here we find Manoah in captivity corporately with his brothers and sister, and still having to deal with personal conditions and circumstances.
This really struck me. As a father, husband and as a man of God. Even in the midst of our corporate struggles, there are still personal struggles going on within the group. As a leader and visionary, sometimes we loose sight of this, and this lack of sight can cause us to be both instinctive or to appear as though we lack compassion. In Manoahs case, most were aware of his circumstance because they could not visually see any children, but in many cases, what we go through is not publicized. Many times we find ourselves struggling and suffering in private.
Though in a in captivity, Manoah had been blessed with a wife. Though there are many benefits to having a wife that, one was not afforded to him; offspring. Manoah was not only unable to secure Verse 2 informs us that his wife is both infertile and childless.
Though we are not given details on how her infertility affected either he or his wife, we are clued in that she has not produced a child. This means she was barren when betrothed, and barren after covenant was solidified. Though he was able to produce an offspring, he was childless because she was unable to produce.
Have you ever united with something barren?
I think back to college. One of the worst things that could happen to you in a lab was to be partnered with someone who was unproductive. Their unproductively had a direct affect on your ability to produce. It caused you to work harder, in turn making your shaper, but robbed you of opportunities to take full advantage of your circumstances.
I wondered how many nights he prayed, thanking God for what he had, but asking God to add to his numbers that he might produce more and be more efficient with his holdings? I wonder how many times he prayed over her, anointing her body with oil? How many days did he fast? I wonder how many times he stood exhausted looking over land that was not cultivated and wished he had an extra hand to aide him in his duties? How many sacrifices did he make? How many times did he fight through the advice of friends? How many advances did he turn down? How many offerings were given? How many hours did his head hang low? One can imagine the frustration and disappointment he might have questioning himself and his relationship with God.
On the other end we have his wife.
Have you ever been the Unproductive Partner in a Relationship?
Being a faithful and loyal wife, I am certain she served her husband to the best of her capacity. She was certain to have compensated in each way, working along side him to help him, knowing that she was unable to provide an heir or an aid for anything he acquired. Furthermore, she would not have a covering or company if she were to loose Manoah. Each day she awoke to the frailty of her present state, and operated within her circumstances, hoping one day they would change. She most likely faced the label of her community, and the constant judgement that was given to a woman who had the equipment to produce, but had not been selected by God to bare one of His gifts.
I pray for each tear that was shed. I pray for each time her head grew heavy and her knees grew weak. I pray for each time she touched her belly. Each time she countenance was low. Each time she cried out to the Lord. Each sacrifice she made and each offering she offered up. I pray for each time she saw a mother with her child. And for each time she held someones blessing and wondered if her womb would every be blessed with a gift from the Lord.
At some level we have all been either Manoah or Manoah’s wife. From both vantage points, we must continue to be good partners to one another. We must take advantage of what has been given to us, until more is provided for us to steward. In every case, God will meet our needs and allow us to function if we will continue to get the full usage out of what we have. Manoah and his wife find themselves still blessed by the Lord while in captivity, and we can too. Not having today does not mean that tomorrow will be the same. For both Manoah and his wife, the day would soon come that they would not only be Monoah/Monoahs wife, but Samsom’s Father/Samson’s Mother. Soon the tails and chronicles of his actions would not only make his name great, but the name of his family.
This evening Granny Lola shared with us the story of Weldon’s Funeral home. The Funeral home was founded 4 generations ago by her Great Grandparents Mr & Mrs. David Weldon. The question that sparked this blog: Did it make you proud that your family owned land and a business?
She replied. “My parents taught us to never be proud. Carrying on the legacy is a way of showing your pride in the legacy you come from.” She spoke about the way many carried themselves who came from prominent families. Many carried the title and the accolades of the past with pride, but their willingness to rest on what the past generations accomplished ensured the legacy would soon cease.
The true enjoyment of being a part of a rich heritage or legacy is the honor in extending its reach. It’s the ability to not only hold the torch until the flame expires, but to work in such a manner that the flame will not be extinguished by your efforts but will burn with such vigor and fervor, that it has enough fuel to survive to two generations.
What are you doing with the torch? Are you reveling in public appearances? Eating meals from the past? Enjoying the celebrity of the fruit of yesteryear? Or are you taking the seeds from the past and planting a harvest that will put seeds in the hands of your children’s children?
Pride should not found only in what was accomplished by those before you, but in the work of your own hand. One should not only receive the legacy, but should be driven to carry it in the same manner in which it was received.
What are you doing with the seeds of others? What are you doing with the seed you have?
Most squander the seeds of others, and worse are eating their seed, and in turn, ensuring that they will leave no legacy. A legacy is what you leave behind, not just what you accomplish while you are here. It’s the torch that continues to bring light from generations past that gives sight to those yet to breath their first breath. Your legacy sets a stage for those coming, and gives power to those who will carry on your dreams both born and unborn.
She concluded by saying, “Don’t be proud; carry on the legacy!” Being a part of a legacy is a responsibility more so than a privilege. While others feel the freedom of not accomplishing and not excelling, the responsibility of extending that which has preceded you restricts from you the luxury of being lazy or complacent. “Don’t be proud; carry on the legacy!” Honor past generations. Give Tribute to those whose hand first tilled the soil. Let every action, accomplishment and accolade be a tightly woven effort to bring glory to all that sacrificed for you to sit and to stand.
I find it interesting that the voice provided by social media has transformed our first culture and now our faith. A medium that could be used for good, has once again been used to divide and conquer our faith. Now Pastors and Parishioners are calling each other out; questioning a persons sincerity, calling and even salvation because of disagreements that should be settled in private and would take all of 30 minutes of discussion a hug and a handshake.
How did we get here? There have always been disagreements in the church and people have and will often find themselves offended at the actions of their brother or sister. Thus Paul advised in 1 Corinthians 6:6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Why, public arguments just aren’t cute, neither are they beneficial to the faith.
Fast forward through the jargon!!!!
In the grand scheme of things, we have God’s Word to guide our lives by. It speaks truth to us, and gives us boundaries and correction. It gives us the rules by which He will abide, in that He holds to His Word and does not break His covenant! He decided what was sinful. It informs us that we all have a date set to stand before the throne, where we will be divided sheep and goat! Having stated this, none of us need to pronounce judgement on anyone.
Furthermore, I pronounce myself as deserving of a spot among the goats. Yes, I deserve a spot! In sin, I am truly the Greatest of All Times! Yep; The GOAT! And because of this, I haven’t the time to make calls upon what I believe the results of another man or womans’ walk will be. I like Paul am just trying to keep from getting disqualified, and if I am going to use an example of a wretch or someone who is deserving of hell, it should be me!!!!
Paul didn’t spend his time roasting Peter nor did he waste time judging the Super Apostle! He didn’t even waste time speaking ill of those who persecuted him and rejected him. He stayed focused on the prize and stayed true to His call. He stood on truth as opposed to warring with those who refused to recognize it or even fought against him. He stood by this truth until even those who disagreed found themselves in agreement. And the recount of his time with Peter reminded us to confront our brothers face to face.
Now the title of this post 🙂 I am searching through the scriptures looking for God’s Electoral College. Though Revelations is interesting, I couldn’t put my hand on the list of Electoral College Members or even how to become one. Yet it seems that there are many Electoral College Members in the world, casting their votes for Sheep and condemning the goats! I created what I believe the ballot would look like. I am assuming that Dez Bryant is a member, thus he keeps throwing up the “X” after every touch down. Maybe Malcolm X was one, hence the name change (I know he was Muslim). I just hope its not most of the people that have Facebook and Twitter accounts. If so, we are all doomed!
And if you have a vote, please tell us! You will never buy another meal or pay another bill as long as you live! You can live the good life!
Hmm, I wonder what happens if the Electoral College doesn’t agree with the Lord?
“What is wrong with the church?” I was asked in a recent conversation. Though I can be wordy, and I was, I will sum it up in this phrase, “I’m Just a Somebody…”
When I was a kid, one of the top songs on the Christian chart was a song called “I’m Just a Nobody” by The Williams Brothers. The song told the story of a man who encountered a man that appeared to be an old wino that was on the streets giving his testimony. The song sat in the belly of transition for the church. See, the song highlights a man who lacks the finer things in life. He doesn’t dress, live or drive fancy and places his full value and purpose in life to the spread of the Gospel.
Because of his appearance, he is teased and ridiculed. He is ignored and assumed not to know what he professes, but they are disillusioned. While they chase the things of the world, garnering themselves with the latest trends, this man sought to clothes mankind in righteousness by sharing the transformation God had done in his life.
Though the people feel they are insulting him,
the man embodies their judgement and declares,
“I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody,
about somebody, who can save, anybody.”
His words sounded out as a warning to the changing church. Our seats had become full, and our parishioners garnered themselves in the latest of fashions. Our Pastor’s moved from hubcaps to Rims from street corner to television programs. Respect began shifting to the haves, and the have-nots became a silent Kingdom partner. People began to think of themselves without sober judgement, wearing and hiding behind the power of titles and ministry prestige. We forgot that it was “…grace and mercy that brought me through. Im living this moment because of you” and began to think it was our intellect and abilities that had elevated us.
People stopped thinking of themselves as “nobody” but as “somebody”. We began to see ourselves as irreplaceable parts in the Kingdom. As gatekeepers and card carrying members of an elite body as opposed to servants in a field that was being plowed inch by inch by the soles of blood bought witnesses canvasing the neighborhood. We became a band of righteous men and women and ceased to be a group of men and women saved by grace.
The humility found in the body of Christ was one that identified the culture of the church. We were a group of people gathered together via mercy and grace. It was our knowledge that we were undeserving of God’s love, but recipients none the less of an eternal reward that would not fade or tarnish. This understanding allowed us to serve in a manner that illustrated the true virtue of Christ that was illustrated by His decent into human flesh and earthly living. It seasoned our tongue as we witnessed to others, ensuring that the hearer felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not the judgement of mankind. As undeserving recipients, our passion was to ensure that someone else received the same gift, as opposed to keeping His truth to ourself.
This is the spirit that is missing in our global church. It the difference between a personal relationship/faith and a corporate relationship/faith that hinges on the market value of our Pastors/Clergy. Though we as men and women of God are watchmen over the congregations souls, responsible for guiding, teaching and correcting, we are stock options are shares to the Kingdom. We too are simply “…nobody,tying to tell everybody, about somebody, who can save anybody.