Time Out: A vessel unequal to the task (Gideon)

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Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Gideon exhibits all the characteristics of someone with a poor self image. He was hiding in a pit when God’s messenger found him and sarcastically called him a “mighty warrior.” He said he was the least qualified person in the least qualified tribe to serve God. He even demanded using a fleece to make God prove Himself – twice!

When he did obey God he carried out his orders in the dark of night so he wouldn’t be seen, then he needed his unbelieving father to protect him from negative public opinion. So why did God choose a man like this? Because God chooses the weak in this world to carry out His plan for then He gets the credit and not the vessel (1 Corinthians 4:13).

Why does He choose you to do a job that you feel totally incapable of doing instead of someone who seems much better suited for the task? God does it so we depend on Him. If we could do something in our own strength, that’s what we would do. But if we know can’t do it we will turn to Him for help and we will depend on Him instead. It’s that simple, you think we’d have caught on by now.

But we don’t. Even Moses complained that he wasn’t able to lead the Jews when God spoke to him at the burning bush and sent him back to Egypt. God did the same thing with Gideon. He even made sure Gideon was out numbered by something like 300 to 1 so it would be clear God won the battle and not Gideon. And God certainly did win. But He used Gideon to do it.

God is a jealous God and He wants us to make sure we know He is the one who accomplishes good and not us. That keeps us from pride, the sin that first brought Satan down. However we can have “pride” in our inability as well. Self-focus can come from thinking we are better than others, but also by thinking we are worse than other. Seeing ourselves as less than God created us is just as sinful as seeing ourselves as more. Self-depreciation can be as bad as self-exaltation. In fact it can be worse for it is more subtle and even can hide behind Christian “humility” when really it is a self-absorbed as the most overt boastfulness. So don’t think of yourself more highly than you should (Romans 12:3) but also don’t think of yourself more lowly than you should either.

Judges 6:15, “‘But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'”

Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”


  • What is God asking you to do or be now that you think is impossible?
  • List some times when you faced impossible tasks but, with God’s help, you were able to accomplish what needed to be done.
  • What can you learn from these times?
  • When is the last time you took credit for something God did? How can you prevent this from happening in the future?
  • Would your friends say you think too much of yourself? What about thinking too little of yourself?
  • Why is thinking less of yourself than God thinks of you a sin?

Jerry SchmoyerJerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on March 8, 2009

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