Summary: Anyone can have a major impact in their surroundings simply by listening to the call and instructions of the Lord.
Be an Impact Person or Be an Impacted Person
Main point: Anyone can have a major impact in their surroundings simply by listening to the call and instructions of the Lord.
#40, Safety with the Arizona Cardinals
7th round draft pick in 1998
Salary of $512,000 per year in 2001
Offered $3.6 Million contract with the Cardinals
St. Louis Rams offered 3 times as much contract
Pat Tillman had it all. He had the American Dream
Strong professional football career
Two multi-million dollar contracts headed his way
Real teams too -- not junk teams like the Cleveland Browns
But something happened on September 11, 2001, that changed the world, and with it, Pat Tillman. When terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, Pat Tillman realized what was really important. He saw that something bigger than himself was calling him, so he finished the 2001 season and quit the NFL.
He joined the Army as Pat Tillman, NFL Safety, and finished his training in 2003 as Specialist Tillman, Army Ranger.
Deployed to Afghanistan, was killed in a firefight in April of 2004. Posthumously promoted to Corporal.
In an interview with his former sports agent, Corporal Tillman was described as such: “They talk about being an impact player in football, but Pat was an impact person.”
Over the next few weeks I would like to share with you stories of other impact people from the Bible. Like Pat Tillman, they weren’t the headliners.
Everyone knows the stories of the “Big Names” of the Bible -- Abraham, Noah, Moses, Paul. These people made an impact, to be sure. But I want to highlight the “regular people” of the Bible -- the not-so-famous men and women who made a huge impact because they trusted in God. One such person is Gideon.
Gideon was just a regular guy. He is not very impressive at first look, but he makes some choices that flow from his faith in God. So significant is the mark this very ordinary man made in his time that he is listed in Hebrews 11 alongside the movers and shakers of the Old Testament.
Turn with me to Judges chapters 6 - 8.
At this point, Israel was occupied territory. God allowed the Midianites to conquer Israel because they did evil things (verse 1). It didn’t stop there -- the Midianites treated them worse than animals! Whenever they would grow crops, the Midianites and Amalekites would overrun their fields, leaving no living thing available for the Israelites to eat. Eventually, the Israelites get sick of this and begin crying out to God!
Remember, they brought this upon themselves due to their evil actions. God responds by sending a prophet down to straighten them out. After the prophet finishes fussing at the Israelites, we meet Gideon in verse 11.
This is our first impression of Gideon -- he’s threshing wheat -- separating the useful bits from the stalks -- in a winepress so he can hide it from the Midianites! That’s pretty low -- he has to hide his food so it won’t be stolen from him!
The angel tells Gideon that the Lord is with him. Now Gideon’s like, what? Really? Have you seen what we’re going through? I’m threshing wheat in a winepress, for crying out loud! The Lord is with me...The Lord has abandoned us to Midian!
The angel responds, “Go and save Israel out of Midian’s hands”.
Now Gideon is all kinds of confused, right? He just finished telling this strange person why Israel is doomed, and he’s not even listening! Gideon responds, “Save Israel? I’m the least in my family, my family is the least in my tribe!” Essentially, he’s the lowest of the low. What could he possibly bring to the table? Aren’t there other, stronger, more manly men out there who would do a much better job?
The angel answers, saying that the Lord will be with Gideon as he fights against Midian. Gideon is doubtful, so he asks the Lord to wait while he prepares an offering. Once it’s prepared, the angel touches it with the tip of his staff and it is immediately consumed by fire! Gideon responds by building an altar there and worshiping the Lord.
Later that night, the Lord commands Gideon to sacrifice the second bull in his father’s camp, and destroy the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole in his father’s house.
Wait, God chose this dude, who’s the smallest and weakest in the land, even though his father has a shrine to not one, but two false gods in his own house? What qualifications could this guy possibly have to save his nation?
So, Gideon does as he’s commanded -- but he waits until nightfall because he’s afraid of everyone else in town seeing that he is destroying these false altars. When morning comes, the people demand that Joash, Gideon’s father, bring out his son so he can be killed because of it! Listen to his father’s response in verse 31: