Scripture Focus: Judges 10.1, 10.3, 11.11a
10.1 After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel.

10.3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years.

11:11a So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them.

Reflection: Leadership Material?
By Judith S. Kimsey

The book of Judges describes twelve “judges,” or leaders (plus Abimelek, the anti-judge about whom we read yesterday). Twelve backstories, each different from the others. Twelve unique skill sets aligned with twelve significant moments in Israel’s history. 

Based on your experience, what are a few characteristics you would include on a checklist of good leaders? Take examples from the business world, church, or elsewhere. 

Now consider the five leaders’ stories we have already read in Judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, and Gideon. Today we add three more: Tola, Jair, and Jephthah. How do these people align with your leadership checklist? Would any of them have been chosen by a placement agency? As we usually define it today, none were obvious “leadership material.” Do they want to lead? Gideon did not. In fact, we see reluctance among all of those who speak. And yet God used all twelve of these leaders according to their gifts in their specific situations. God doesn’t have a preset checklist of competencies for effective leaders.

We may remember Sunday School images of Gideon with his fleece or Samson pushing the pillars apart, but the point of Judges is not the people who led Israel. The point is the power of the One who calls those leaders. The Apostle Paul says it best: 

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1.26-29)

By appointing the insignificant, the hesitant, and the rejected, God leaves room for his own power and sovereignty as he pursues his people. 

Today–just as he did in the period of the judges–God is calling up new leaders for our churches and communities. Is he calling some of us to lead at this significant moment in history?  Have we allowed our culturally-informed checklist of leadership criteria to hold us back? Let’s look up from that leadership checklist and check on the unexpected ways God is at work in unexpected people, including ourselves.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
O Lord, what are we that you should care for us? Mere mortals that you should think of us?
We are like a puff of wind; our days are like a passing shadow. — Psalm 144.3-4

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Judges 10-11.11  (Listen 8:11)
1 Peter 2 (Listen 3:48)

Read more about Different Kind of Exile
Most people who don’t accept Christianity aren’t concerned with our theology. They are concerned by our actions.

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