July 26 – Coward to Conqueror – Finding Blessing in the Mundane

Read Judges 6:1-11

A pile of dishes overflowing the dish drainer, cleaned the evening before, beg me to put them in their right place. Crumbs on the counter, which escaped the last wipe down, mock my perfectionistic nature. The rumpled bed covers have been smoothed and made to reflect order. The dishwasher silently hums its tune, breaking the silence of an ordinary day. Mundane- a word defined as lacking interest or excitement; dull.

In the book of Judges, we find Gideon doing an ordinary, mundane task, threshing wheat. He probably had visited threshing floors countless times in his life, guiding the oxen as the beasts trampled the grain. But this day is different. Gideon is hiding in fear in a small, secluded wine press. With each blow he gives to the wheat stalk, he listens in fear of the enemy, the oppressive power of the Midianites, discovering him. As he separates the grain from the useless chaff, he treasures each crumb of grain, perhaps grumbling and bored with such an ordinary task. Does he see God in the ordinary? Probably not. Living in fear, he senses God’s abandonment of his nation, his family and himself. Decades have passed since the nation of Israel has seen God’s deliverance through the direction of Joshua. Gideon’s heart breaks for his nation doing “evil in the sight of the Lord.” (Jdg. 6:1) Where is God? Where is the miracle that generations before him have witnessed? Hiding, fearful and oppressed, life seems hopeless. So Gideon does the ordinary, the everyday task to survive, without gratitude.

Could it be that God uses the ordinary, every day to remind us of His blessings? Could threshing wheat for Gideon and my everyday tasks of dishes and cleaning be the same? Are they opportunities to see the favor of God?

I was challenged in a personal  Bible study written by Priscilla Shirer on the life of Gideon, to list five ordinary, mundane everyday tasks. Next to each of those tasks I was instructed to write down how each one reflected God’s kindness to me.

My list looked like this:

  • Wash dishes- provision of food
  • Load dishwasher- provision of wealth
  • Wipe counter- abundance of water
  • Make bed- provision of home/ shelter, bed and blankets
  • Brush teeth- provision of health

Matthew 14 is a record of Jesus using an ordinary boy’s sack lunch to feed thousands of people. We revel in that story. We love how it teaches us the principle of Jesus using the ordinary, the insignificant in a miraculous way. We forget a major portion of that story- the ordinary is overlooked. Jesus gave thanks for the everyday meal of some dry bread and stinky fish. Thanksgiving preceded the miracle. Recognition of the blessing occurred prior to the deliverance.

We know the end of Gideon’s story. It’s full of God doing miracle after miracle, including making a fearful, ordinary man into a mighty warrior. But let’s not overlook the ordinary. It was due to God’s provision and blessing that Gideon even had wheat to thresh. The ordinary task of threshing wheat was an indication of God’s faithfulness.

Today, we find ourselves secluded, hunkering in our homes, our own “wine presses”, fearful of the enemy. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine tasks of everyday “threshing the wheat” and lose our joy and gratitude. We pray for deliverance. We pray for a miracle. But a miracle lies right in front of us, just like Gideon, with the provision of every crumb of wheat- even crumbs on the counter.

Charline Engle

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