“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9
You could be a Shamgar. You may be thinking, “What in the world is a Shamgar?” Shamgar was the third judge of Israel at a time when evil and violence were so great that the people actually abandoned the streets in fear and went into hiding from their enemies. Israel desperately needed God’s help.
And who did God choose to use? Shamgar. He’s mentioned in just one verse: “After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He also delivered Israel, striking six hundred Philistines with a cattle prod” (Judges 3:31). Most likely a farmer, Shamgar’s only available weapon was a cattle prod (a pole with a sharp point on the end that was used to guide and direct livestock). Shamgar, indignant at the oppression of the Philistines, was used by God to defend His people using nothing but a cattle prod.
Shamgar did what he could, where he was, with what he had. Ehud used a dagger. Jael used a tent peg. Samson used the jawbone of a donkey. Gideon used pitchers and lanterns. David used five stones. And Shamgar used a cattle prod. Are you seeing the theme?
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for His glory.
By His grace, God has given us everything we need to accomplish His calling in our lives. By God’s intentional design, He has put you where you are—in your own specific context—so that He can use you to make a difference right where you are, with what you have. In the famous words of Billy Graham, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!” Little else is known concerning Shamgar but what we do know is this: God used a farmer to rescue a nation. God used one man to change the lives of others; He can use you too.
Jesus has saved you, set you apart, and filled you with His Spirit because He wants to use you to make a difference for His glory. When we “walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh” (Gal. 5:16), God’s kingdom agenda advances in and through normal, everyday people like you and me. So, grab your cattle prod and know that God has called you (and equipped you) for such a time as this. Be a Shamgar.
Because you have the Holy Spirit of God living within you, everywhere you go has the potential to be holy ground. Scripture says that it was the Holy Spirit’s work within “ordinary, uneducated men” that made others marvel (Acts 4:13). As you draw near, ask God to open your eyes to the everyday opportunities all around you that you may have often overlooked and for the boldness and courage to step into those opportunities that He may use you—right where you are, with what you have—for His glory.
Our Pastor has often said, “For what’s at stake, do whatever it takes.” Years ago, we conducted a study that showed that more than 85% of the 357,000 people living in our community remain unchurched. We believe that every single one of those people deserves an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus. In response to this, we launched our vision fund—an initiative focused on doing whatever it takes. As you draw near to God in prayer, ask that He would unite our entire church around the vision of seeing all of our neighbors become fully devoted followers of Jesus.
To learn more about the vision fund, visit www.westridge.com/visionfund.