It has been a while but my revelation I just received reading the Judges 8-9 needs to be written down. I have highly valued ministry, the work of the Church and lately (the past 5-10 years) how I can apply myself in business to make a positive difference in the world. It fascinates and thrills me to think about what a successful business person could accomplish if they started a business based on God’s values/priorities. I want to start a scaleable business that invests in younger people and trains them to solve problems and start their own missional for profit businesses. The tear drop affect of something like this can change whole countries as has already been seen.
HOWEVER, it is all too tempting to derive my sense of worth from the success of whatever project I am working on. This can lead to me not prioritizing being faithful to my wife (I committed to a lot more than simply not having sex with other women) or my family. Sometimes that doesn’t seem like a big deal as long as it is only temporary. However, Judges 8-9 and many other old testament stories strongly challenge that line of thinking.
Gideon is a hero. Right? He did some awesome things. He had enough faith to test God’s angel and eventually obey God’s instructions. He pushed through his fear and attacked a huge army with 300 men and saved Israel. However, after his success he used his fame and money to have many different concubines (one step above sex slaves usually) and obviously wasn’t faithful with instructing his many children about God’s history with His people or His ways. His children led Israel astray and nullified the victory he helped win.
What a waste. God can use his story to inspire us a bit but ultimately Gideon missed the bigger picture. If we want to make a difference in the world we need to think in at least a two generational timeline! What a waste to do something great for God and then to simply have it undone by your children because you weren’t faithful to God in taking care of them properly… How much better would it be for each of us to accomplish a little in this life and train our children to take it further, than to accomplish much for God yet fail to be faithful with the most important resources God has given us (our spouse and children). Just like Jesus said in Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Also in 1 Timothy 5:8
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
I would like to extend our interpretation of that from simply financial provision to also spiritual provision. We are clearly responsible to prioritize those closest to us by blood and then by faith. Then we focus on ministry once we have provided for those God has most called us to. Also, if love is concerned more with others benefit, how much better to see our children to succeed then for us to succeed and they be spiritually poor.
I consider myself warned. Are you on the path to multi-generational success or epic failure?