Summary: How do we discover why we were born? We have to overcome: 1. Discouragement 2. Doubt 3. Obstacles 4. We have to remain faithful
Gideon: Discovering Why You Were Born
I have to confess that I used to like to watch American Idol. And the best part of the season was when all the wannabees come out for the auditions. I lose interest when it is narrowed down to the last 50 who actually have some talent. It is amazing to me that when Simon used to say, “Why are you here today?” their reply is always, “Because I am the next American Idol.” They don’t say, “Because I want to be the next American Idol.” It is always, “Because I AM the next American Idol.” It is amusing to see how bad some of these people really are. They interviewed one young man who was about to audition and told something about his life. He had a band back home. When they interviewed his father, the father said that his son could, “sing like a bird.” But when the young man went into the audition room and opened his mouth, he sounded more like a gorilla — growling, twisting and stomping like he was being tortured. The judges were not impressed. Simon buried his head in his hands, Paula just looked at the floor and Randy laughed.
It’s all hugely entertaining, not to mention amusing. The blaring message of the program for me is: Just because you think you can sing does not mean you can sing; just because you think you have talent does not mean you have talent. Some of those who audition believe that they were born to be a singer, when they’re actually a screecher. One girl even came to the auditions knowing that she could not sing, because she thought it was not fair that people who could not sing could not win a singing contest. There are a lot of people in the world who make themselves miserable because they are trying to be something that they are not. They have never found the purpose for which they were born. Some of these people come saying that it has always been their dream to be a famous singer, but their dream is a fantasy. Their real dream is to become rich and famous.
The message of the Bible is that God has made each of us for a purpose, and until we find, and live out, that purpose, we are missing out on something very important. We can rebel and go another way, but we will miss the blessing of finding the reason for which we were born. The Bible says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). All of us were born with the purpose of belonging to God and living for him and using our lives to make the world a better place. He is our Creator, Savior and friend, and to miss out on knowing him would be the greatest mistake of our lives. It does not take any talent to live out your purpose at this point.
There is an interesting passage in the gospel of Luke that says, “All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right. . . . But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves” (Luke 7:29-30). They fancied themselves to be the people of God, but they were wrong. They thought they were more religious than Jesus, and therefore they did not need him. Thinking we don’t need Jesus is a problem many people have.
Beyond that there is a more specific purpose for each of us. Some of you were born to be musicians. God has gifted you with an ability to sing or play an instrument, and many of you are using that gift to serve the Lord. Some of you were born to be teachers, bankers, salespersons, or parents. You may feel called to be a politician or preacher. Your gift may be cooking, entertaining, helping people in need or ministering to people in some way. The Bible says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. . . . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Your purpose may be a life long vocation, or it may be a single act carried out in only one point in time, but all your life has been headed for that moment.
Gideon is a man in the Old Testament who was called by God for a special purpose at a special time. But there were several things that kept Gideon from understanding what God’s purpose was for him and how he fit into God’s plan. And these are the same things that keep us from discovering the reason for which we were born. Gideon’s first challenge was the challenge we all face: We have to overcome discouragement. The people of Israel were horribly oppressed. They were starving because the Midianites kept destroying their cattle and crops. There was great suffering and discouragement in the land. Hope was gone. Gideon was hiding in an old wine press that had been dug. He was threshing a few stalks of wheat that he had somehow managed to keep hidden from the Midianites. He was depressed. But the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior’” (Judges 6:12). I’ll bet he was tempted to laugh out loud. Mighty warrior? He was a scared young man hiding out in a wine press. But then, God always sees us in a different light than we see ourselves. We see our inadequacies and failures, and use them as an excuse. God sees our potential and what could be, and he wants to use us for his purposes.