In Judges chapter 3, there is a man whom you, if you let your mind wander for a moment while reading, could easily miss. He got about 25 words, give or take, in your Bible version. We know his name, his family line, and his most heroic day in battle for Israel. And we know the end result of his efforts. Verse 31 says . . .
Shamgar the son of Anath was the next to rescue Israel. In one battle, he used a sharp wooden pole to kill six hundred Philistines. (CEV)
This guy gets two brief sentences in the Bible, but isn’t it amazing how much we can surmise about him from that strand of words?
Back in the day when I spoke to youth groups frequently, I had a message that had a tendency to quiet a room. The bottom line was this—Most of you are young and feel bulletproof. You feel you have your entire life in front of you and have big dreams of being famous or rich or preferably both. But let me ask you a question: how many of you can tell me anything about your great-great grandfather?
Interestingly, I never had a single hand go up in any room. Then I continued, “What about your great-grandfather?” Occasionally, a hand or two would go up, but the information was more about family tree than family legacy, such as his name or he fought in a war, not specific information as to whom the man actually was.
Then I closed with, “So why do you think you’re going to be any different? We’ve proven here today that just two or three generations from now, your own family won’t recall your name. So, we can be depressed by this and question life’s brevity, OR we can be inspired to believe that God’s plan, if met with our obedience, can lead us to a life that makes a difference now and makes a difference in Heaven for others one day. As in, “So tell us how you came to know the Lord and how this changed your entire family’s legacy?” “Well, there was this girl . . .” or “One day, this guy I knew shared with me about . . .”
We have an opportunity today to make a difference, not in making ourselves famous or insuring our spot in history, but in re-drawing the legacy of entire families, and possibly generations, simply by being obedient to who, what, where, and when God tells us.
We don’t know how long Shamgar lived, but God prepared and equipped him for a single life event that saved a nation and was pivotal enough to make the pages of Scripture. God is writing your sentence and my sentence right now, today. We can do nothing about yesterday or even tomorrow, but today, we can be certain the sentence continues exactly as God desires by listening and walking with Him.
May God write our lives into His-story.