“Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals…and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of their enemies on every side.” Judges 8:27-35.
What is important to know is that Yahweh had set up the central place of worship in Shiloh which was 35 miles away. It was to be the seat of His presence and worship for Gideon and all of the Israelites. But instead of leading the region to Shiloh to worship he set up the ephod in his own town ensuring his leadership and worship would be more convenient. This set up a people who aligned worship with convenience instead of sacrifice. So it is no wonder that as soon as their leader died they returned to their old ways and failed to worship God. Gideon displayed spiritual laziness in his circle of influence and failed to show sacrifice by example. Although he was positioned to lead by example he led by his own earthly desires and comfort.
Every one of us has a circle of influence, be it our families, friends, workplace or churches. How do we lead? How do we worship? Do we set up our worship in ways that are convenient or is our worship based on our wholehearted commitment to the Lord? ‘Good intentions are not enough – not enough to honor God, not enough to sustain your spiritual growth, not enough to keep your spiritual legacy intact for generations to come.’ Gideon, p. 173. If you died today what would your children say about your faith? Would your grandchildren be able to reminisce of conversations with you about God? What would your friends remember most about their time spent with you?
Things of this earth only last for a while but our legacies will last into future generations. In order to make an impact in this world we must focus on the next world with Jesus. ‘Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on the things above…Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature’ Colossians 3:1-5.
How will we be remembered by those in our circles…participating in the earthly comforts or walking mindfully in the things of the Spirit?