And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” (Judges 7:2)
Bigger is better. Go big or go home. Build it and they will come. That’s the American way of thinking isn’t it? The evangelical church has adopted that philosophy too, it seems. Well-intended, in many cases—an effort to reach as many people as possible—and who could fault that? The difficulty comes when the mission to men becomes a movement of men that leads to a monument for men.
Large is nothing if God isn’t in it. Little is much when He is. Gideon is a case in point. God chose the least likely leader to field the tiniest army in battle against a great foe. You can read the whole story in Judges 6-8. Let me summarize:
Israel started as underdogs—beaten down and dominated by foreign powers. God heard their desperate cries and tapped Gideon to bring about the deliverance. His response to God’s call was, “Who me?” Then God started whittling down the already small army. There were 32,000 and when God commanded that everyone who was afraid to go home—22,000 turned tail and ran. God said there were still too many and tested them with the result being Gideon was left with 300—not 3000—300! Their secret weapon was a bunch of trumpets, torches, and water pitchers! They would ride down the valley in the dark, blowing trumpets, breaking pitchers, waving torches, screaming, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” Yeah, right.
But, it worked! Why? God was on their side, and that makes a majority. He got the glory by the way because only God could bring this about. This story underscores that little is much when God is in it!
I will be candid with you—as a pastor when church members head down the road to the bigger, better, shinier, newer church, it is natural to take it personal, and feel like a failure. Keeping the morale of the troops up when we look around and see the vacant spots is hard. Making up for the missing in leadership vacancies and financial voids is challenging.
God hasn’t left the building. He is with us. Little is much when God is in it. Maybe we should remember this: “It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” We are Pole Creek. We have a job to do. So long as I am here, I intend to press forward, and when I am gone someday, you will keep on track because it isn’t about the pastor, it’s about Jesus Christ.