Friday, April 25, 2014

Footnotes in History

Have you ever heard of Tola? How about Jair? These people are known by little. Indeed if I did not have my Bible open I would not remember the names at all, yet they served an important part in the Lord's plan.

We all know of the cycle of the Judges. The Israelites sinned, The Israelites are captured, The Israelites repent, the Lord gives a Judge, the Judge dies, and the Israelites sin again. Thus the cycle continues.

However, this cycle is a bit too simplistic. After the short reign of power-hungry Abimelech the son of Gideon, the Israelites are brought under what can only be a period of righteousness by the works of two consecutive judges, who you guessed it are named Tola and Jair. Only five verses are given to them: Judges 10:1-5, scarcely more than a footnote.

Then when they are both dead, the Israelites err again and the cycle of Judges continues. But under the lead of these two men, they served the Lord. Yet we hardly know they exist.

We can more easily name Gideon, whose later years of life were very much unfaithful to the Lord than we can name these judges, whose entire lives as best as we can tell were faithful!

But sometimes, that's the way things will be. Serving the Lord is not a business where fame is promised. People may not recognize you for your service. You might be no less than a footnote. Is that worthy for you? Are you willing to be a footnote in the service of the Lord, or do you seek your own fame and fortune?

We can't all have the renown of the apostle Paul. We must not want to be forever immortalized for our actions. Because if that is our motivation, we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and that is not pleasing to the Lord.

I urge you to be willing to be like Tola and Jair, to be forgotten. I urge you to have the purpose in your actions, not to be in recognition, but for just serving the Lord in general.

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