Last One Standing

(An excerpt on The Life of Gideon)

Do you remember playing team games as a child?  Two leaders are chosen, and one by one, each leader picks their team members. As the pool becomes smaller, those waiting to hear their name called out, silently scream, ‘pick me! I don’t want to be the last one standing!’

What is it like being the LAST person picked to play a game with your friends? All eyes on you and you cannot do anything, except stand there and wait, until you hear your name called.

Can’t you just see that sole individual standing there? Hands hanging at their sides, looking down, so as not to make eye contact with those that have been ‘chosen’, nevertheless, very aware of their surroundings. All eyes are on her. What is it like to be the last one, the afterthought? To be the one that no one would call on, unless they had no other choice?

As a child this can be devastating.  As an adult the sense of devastation is no less appalling. And, for some, it happens over and over and over again in life. Leaving them feeling as if they don’t have a chance.

I am convinced that in the mind of this individual, lies a glimmer of hope, a soundless secret knowing that maybe, there is something they can do that may land them in the middle or at the forefront of the game. They know they were made for more! They won’t dare speak it aloud. But they feel it. And, some dream about it. There is a hope that permeates deep in the recesses of their being.

I am continually amazed by God’s use of individuals. Consider, the person everyone wants on the other team. The underdog.  Somehow, God uses this individual to make significant impact; simply because it doesn’t make sense.

Gideon, at least in his own mind, was this person; an unlikely winner. He sees himself as quite insignificant and irrelevant – in his nation, among his people and in his family, and again, in his own mind. He carries the weight of being the last one standing, waiting to be picked for the game. Not only does he feel inconsequential, he senses that his people have been completely abandoned by their God, their only true hope.  Consequently, his outlook is a tad bit frustrated.

If you look at his situation from a place of shear survival, one might think, this guy is not doing much. He was just threshing wheat in a wine press! Taking care of himself and his family. However, once you pull back and see the greater impact of his wine press adventure, one might notice a slightly different scenario. He is keeping his family alive, providing food in a very discreet and calculated manner. He has been strategically positioned for his next life-adventure. And, he doesn’t even know it.

Gideon was creative and a strategist, a survivor protecting his family. Keeping his loved ones alive and secure was his focus. Remembering that he had lost two brothers to the Midienites was in the back of his mind. He was determined to, not only keep his family nourished; he was resolute on keeping them ALIVE.

Something to think about:
Have you ever had to do something you didn’t think you were capable of accomplishing? What was it? How did you overcome that fear and what was the outcome? What advice would you give to someone who may be facing a difficult task?