(Photo by Selma Komisky)
The Shamgar Challenge: Be A Historymaker
By Zelda Dominguez
I don’t really know exactly when we were all affected by this pandemic. Did I just say PANDEMIC? It’s like out of a movie, unbelievable, yet in March 2020 the world as we knew, changed.
Fear and panic spread instantly. I would say faster than the virus itself. I have to admit I felt scared myself.
Could this really be happening? I thought.
Once we collectively processed this, I think people started to rise above it. Within my own neighborhood I saw people reaching out. Offering baked bread or cake, fresh fruit from their trees, kids painting rocks leaving them thru out the walkways with messages of cheer. Phone calls asking if we needed anything, zoom quickly becoming a prime way to connect, filling a greater sense of community. On my birthday, I even had a surprise with a parade of my friends in their cars waving birthday signs and balloons as they honked and drove by!
I began to think and pray about what could I do to make a difference for such a time as this? How could I share the Love of Jesus? I’ll come back to that but I want to share with you people in the bible that were ordinary people, taking action and making a difference in history and for The Kingdom.
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise and he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:26-27
We have the opportunity to be a part of history, and even be history changers.
Yes some will get angry by the changes imposed on them, others will cast blame, some will resist compliance and ignore what’s happening, and then there are those who are busy investigating every possible conspiracy theory. But there is that one who decides to heed the voice of God, take the opportunity, and move!
Moses in the bible fills 136 chapters, Joseph occupies 21, and Jesus is recorded in the first 89 chapters of the New Testament. But this hero/history changer named Shamgar has two verses! You may be thinking, how important can he be, and what can I learn from him? You’ll be surprised.
After Moses then Joshua died, the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. They forgot about the Lord their God, and they served idols.
“After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down 600 Philistines with an ox-goad. He too saved Israel.”
– Judges 3:31
“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the roads were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths.”
– Judges 5:6
Shamgar’s ancestors migrated to Cannan after coming out of the bondage of Egypt. Now at this point they had no leader. These were dangerous times, so much that the Israelites avoided the main roads. Perhaps they were even homebound much like we are now. But they were fearful of their enemies attacking in a lawless and vulnerable time.
Shamgar was a farmer. We know by the verse he used an ox -goad (an instrument used to poke and prod oxen and dig or weed like a hoe) to strike down 600 attackers.
He was an ordinary guy, and yet took the risk and moved forward to what God was calling him to do. Many times the odds may be against us, and things may not make sense in our own logic. Some don’t even start or attempt challenges because it’s too much work. We may feel that we aren’t good enough, don’t have the money, the experience, degree, and the excuses go on and on. But how did Shamgar do it? There are three life principles that can help you see things differently and help to overcome big odds.
Let me ask you this. In this time of lock down and social distancing, are you in a rut or complacent? Or are you making the most of every opportunity? Shamgar first started where he was at. He didn’t try to be something he wasn’t and he didn’t try to use that as an excuse. His nation was in trouble and he moved into action. His name tells us a little more about him. It means One who listens to God! No doubt he sought God in prayer and listened for his direction. Do you know God wants to use you and maybe even at this time? You never know what God can do through you, until you trust God to let him have his way in your life.
Secondly Shamgar used what he had. He had an everyday tool he used which was an ox goad. It may have not been the norm used for battle, but it was what he had. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. This time now, will never be again. Jesus said, “For sure, I tell you, whoever puts his trust in Me can do the things I am doing. He will do even greater things,” John 14: 12.
Life was fearful, chaotic in Shamgar’s day. No king, no justice, and no one was doing anything. We need to be more like this history changer. His actions saved his family, community, and his nation. He became a judge. He made a difference with where he was at and what he had.
Lastly Shamgar did what he could. God has given you a mission in life and only you can carry it out.
I remember I was so bummed out when I got married and we bought a house. To me that meant we were tied down and not able to go do missionary work like I thought God wanted me to. I told my friend sadly, ‘Well I guess I have to think of another calling.’ She laughed and said, ‘if God put a mission’s heart in you, you don’t have to be the one to go across the world. You can still do missions by financially supporting one, or housing one, or missions is ministering to the kids on your block or the ladies in your community!’ I was so happy and started to do just that.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.
– Zechariah 4:10a
Don’t despise the little things that you do. Jesus didn’t despise the boy’s small lunch when it was offered. Do what you can no matter how small. See them as your very own “five loaves and two fish” When we offer it to him, he has the power to multiply it. Pray and listens for Gods direction. He is the power behind it. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Our ability and strength comes from the One who can do all things (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What is your life goal, dream, or vision? A person with clear set goals can achieve practically anything in life. A person without goals is going nowhere. Time keeps passing and intentions are missed opportunities. Again sometimes you don’t see the need or opportunity right where you are. My church goes occasionally to serve and help a church in Baja California. A friend asked me if I’d like to help with an after school Christian club I went to visit the school and see what it was about. The school was in my city and the children came from diverse backgrounds and family lifestyles. I saw an opportunity was there to serve and do what I could do. I didn’t even have to go to Mexico because the need was right there in my area.
Marked Ministry’s very own Editor in Chief graduated from college and always had a love for journaling. She along with a handful of friends started a blog for six months. Then God gave her a vision. As a young girl there was no magazine that showed the diversity of what a Christian should look like? Or talked about issues she longed to know about. She started where she was, with what she had, and did what she could and God has done the rest! A few years in, she’s now reaching people globally and she wouldn’t have opportunities she has now, unless God hadn’t opened them.
In this lockdown I kept praying what could I do to help. I kept thinking about these principles and asked myself what could I do right where I was in my home? Another friend who sewed posted that she was making masks for the medical personal by her home and asked if anyone wanted to help by cutting out fabric? There is was, my opportunity! I got fabric I had stored away and began cutting out pieces for my friend to sew.
Think out of the box. Will you take the challenge? Pray and listen like Shamgar, then start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can to serve others and be part of making history!