Summary: If you want God to use you to restore your broken world, proclaim His Word, provoke trust in that Word, and praise the Lord.
One Sunday, a couple of years ago (2018), Ben and Jackee Belnap noticed an important envelope containing $1,060 mysteriously missing. For the previous year, University of Utah football fans had been saving money to pay back Ben's parents for season tickets, and that money was in the envelope.
Ben and Jackee started tearing the house apart searching for the cash. “I'm digging through the trash,” Ben Belnap said, “and Jackee hollers, ‘I found it.’” It was in the shredder in a thousand tiny pieces. Immediately they knew Leo, their 2-year-old, was the culprit. He had been helping Jackee shred junk mail and documents. Apparently, he thought he was being helpful with the envelope full of cash. First, his mother cried. Then, she laughed. She said, “As devastated and as sick as we were, this was one of those moments where you just have to laugh.”
Soon after that, Ben Belnap contacted the Treasury Department, which has a “Mutilated Currency Division.” They “redeem” burned, rodent-chewed, or deteriorated money as a free service to the public. They handle 30,000 claims a year, redeeming more than $30 million in mutilated cash. They told Ben to send the shredded money to Washington in Ziploc bags.
In the meantime, Mom did not let Leo use the shredder anymore, making the comment that “this will make a great wedding story one day.” (Meagan Flynn, “A 2-year-old shredded $1,060 of his family’s cash. His mom cried — until she laughed,” The Washington Post, 10-5-18; www.PreachingToday.com)
On this Mother’s Day, you have to appreciate Jackee’s response to her son’s mishap, but you have to cry when you think about how much our culture has shredded the values we hold dear.
Thankfully, redemption is possible through Jesus Christ, who delights in redeeming mutilated lives, families, and whole cultures. He can redeem your shredded life, and He can use you to bring redemption to your shredded culture.
The question is How? How can God use the likes of you and me to put a broken world back together. Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Judges 4, Judges 4, where we see how God used “a mother in Israel” to restore her nation during one of the darkest periods of Israel’s history.
Judges 4:1-3 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud died. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years. (ESV)
After 80 years of peace, Israel is in trouble again, because they turned against the Lord. Now, they face a powerful enemy, who cruelly oppresses them for 20 years.
Judges 4:4-5 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. (ESV)
Notice two aspects about Deborah’s role in Israel. She’s a prophetess and a judge. She declares God’s Word and then applies that Word to the disputes people bring to her. In Judges 5:7, she calls herself simply “a mother in Israel.” Here, she sits under a tree in south-central Israel. Yet her influence extends to the entire nation! That’s because she speaks with God’s voice and authority.
She proclaims the Word of God, and that’s what you must do if you want God to use you to put a broken world back together.
PROCLAIM THE WORD OF GOD.
Don’t tell people what YOU think; tell people what GOD says. Share God’s Word with those who come to you for advice, because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and... spirit... discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The power is in God’s Word, not your word.
In More Jesus, Less Religion, Steve Arterburn writes:
Some time ago, I read about the work of a Wycliffe Bible translator in a remote village in Papua New Guinea. When the opening chapters of Genesis were first translated into the native language, the attitude toward women in the tribe changed overnight. They had not realized or understood that the woman had been specially formed out of the side of the man. Without even hearing this concept developed, these people immediately grasped the ideas of equality between the sexes and began adjusting their behavior. The people heard. They believed. They obeyed. They changed. Just like that.