“Shamgar . . struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad.” Judges 3:31 NIV
“A key to doing all you can do is the willingness to use all you have.”
My thoughts today consider, “if only.”
It is easy to imagine all the wonderful things you could do, “if only . . !” If only what? If only you had more opportunities? More help? More money? More education? More skills? More advantages? Smaller challenges? Less difficulty? The list is endless, excuses continuous, and successes unaccomplished. A key to doing all you can do is the willingness to use all you have. What you don’t have can’t help you.
The Bible occasionally spotlights a person that rises out of obscurity to achieve something others did not dare to try. Have you ever heard of Shamgar? His name appears only twice in the Bible, and very little is known about him, except his name, his origin, and the very difficult national and personal times in which he lived. See Judges 5:6-8. Danger and desperation made daily life difficult. Israel’s men were disarmed and defenseless. Because of his fearless exploits, his fame was included in people’s songs and oral history years later.
What did he do? Well, first consider what he did not do. He did not dismiss the possibility of courage against unimaginable odds by calculating, “If only . .” and then doing nothing at all. Here’s what Shamgar did, single-handedly, “Shamgar . . struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel.” Judges 3:31 NIV. One man, unarmed, against six hundred Philistine warriors! He used what he had – an ox goad, a wooden stick tipped with bronze that a farmer used to prod his work animals. A common farm utensil, not much at all, except in the hands of a determined and courageous farmer, resulting in a rousing victory that stirred the heart of a nation against its enemy.
An unusual story? Yes, but not an uncommon one in the Bible, and in everyday life. It sounds familiar to me – like Moses and a shepherd’s staff, or Gideon and his trumpet, or Samson and a jawbone, or David and a slingshot, or a boy with a small lunch of bread and fish. God’s story is about using ordinary people in extraordinary ways when they are willing to use what they have for God’s purposes and glory.
You may not have what you want; you may not have everything you need; you may not have what others have; you do have something that God can use. “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to . .” Romans 12:6-8 NLT. Remember, the key to doing all you can do is using all that you have.
The saddest thing at the close of a day, or a year, or a lifetime, is when regrets are voiced in the words, “If only . . “
My prayer for you today is to see the ordinary as a means for extraordinary achievement.