I recently read the incredible story of Gideon, a judge whom God raised up to free Israel from the tyranny of the Midianites. The men of Israel rally around Gideon and he gathers a thirty-thousand man army to do battle. But that’s not going to work for God’s purposes – he wants to make sure Israel, and the surrounding nations, know that it is God who is delivering Israel, not Gideon and and Israelite army. So, in an intriguing process, the LORD whittles Gideon’s army down to just three hundred men. And, these three hundred men route the Midianite army and send them fleeing.
The same principle applies, I believe to the church, local and universal. God wants to make sure the we know he is the one that gives the increase. It’s not our business savvy, our wise planning, our strategizing (though of course, those have a place). Nor is political power or cultural clout that will grow the church. That’s Gideon’s army of thirty-thousand. Nope, lay those things aside. It is the humble yet bold witness of the common Christian standing against seemingly impossible odds that God will use to grow the church and bring himself glory.