Jephthah and Me
by Michael Wilmot
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There has been, for a long while now, a refrain echoing in the deep drum of my heart. This is that place in me where my warrior spirit dwells. It speaks with the voice of umbrage against injustice, acts of evil and my cowardice in the face of battle for Christ. From this wellspring comes the surging release in my sprit when victory is achieved and is the place I go to lick my wounds when defeated on the field. The deep of my heart is a dangerous place; its power must be tamed in the way a warhorse is tamed. Not to break its spirit but to place under control and honed as an effective weapon in the chaos of battle.
I am a man, wild at heart and looking for the adventure of my life. For far too long the pressures of conformity and politeness have encouraged me to lock away and ignore the deep drum of my passions and become a good man, a quiet man who rocks no boats or bucks any system. A rule follower, a gentle and compassionate man who is tolerant of others and sacrificial in all things is more palatable than the armed, determined, steely-eyed veteran intent on taking out the enemy.
Those demanding the impotency of my sprit question my qualifications or worthiness to be the man I truly am. Pedigrees, degrees and positions have become the mirror and standard which diminish my self-worth and the deep drum is starting to beat louder, stronger and faster in rebellion. I can hear it as if coming from over the next hill, hidden in the jungle but advancing. Yes it is approaching with a steady tread and I am both terrified and exhilarated with the implications the thumping refrain suggests.
I have a choice to make now, unlike any time in my life since. Will I join the fight or watch the Pass and Review of my passion for Christ dissolve back into the fog? Will I once again embrace the man of peace, rocking on the porch awaiting the adventure of the grave, or will I join ranks with the men of God, girded for war against entrenched enemies. Charge the hill or wave to the troops is the choice before me as it is before my neighbors as we avoid eye contact with each other.
The refrain in my heart asks if my church is a command and control center on the field of battle or a nursing home of retired men broken in body and spirit. Am I engaging in the messy danger of ministry or watching from the cheap seats of the arena? I may not like the answers but the questions are relentless in the pursuit of my heart.
The call to a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a damsel to save rings in the hearts of all men and calls us to action. It may ring in the far off distance but the vibrations flowing from the bell are there. Brothers the time has come to put aside the man of hospitality and assume the man of hostility to complacency and weakness. We are all called to the ministry of men, starting with our-self, extending to our sons and the generation to follow.
With no more qualifications than had Jephthah the Gileadite, the 9th Judge of Israel, I am on my feet, out of the pew and marching into the streets. I am willing and eager for the equipping rewards of stern discipleship and accountability. I am joining ranks with my fellow brothers and content with leaving false brothers in the dust behind me.
Like Jephthah I am empowered to set my terms and submissive to none but God Almighty. There is room in our ranks for you. We will invite you in with open arms and reject the sideline critique of the bystanders with closed ears. It is time to fall in and join ranks or sit down and shut up.
I have made my choice. What you choose to do is your problem.
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