Legend or Legacy?

(Todays post by James Rooks)

Wow, so Gideon the Warrior had many wives and a concubine. I spent a chapter and half reading about someone who would have given Maximus from Gladiator a serious butt whipping only to see the fatal flaw….women, and LOTS of them. Not to take today's blog down the wrong path, but I had to go ahead and throw out the obvious. Gideon, like most of us seemed to let success go to his head. Maybe more than having a woman problem, Gideon's downfall was probably pride. We'll dig deeper into that later on.

Being the low man on the totem pole (in a family that was the lowest tribe of Israel) who was called by God to lead the Israelites to victory over Midian, Gideon went from worst to first in a hurry. I can't verify this for sure, but I believe that Gideon might've coined the phrase “Kicking Butt and Taking Names”. Talk about calling your shots and delivering, look at Judges 8:4-9 and then him cashing in between 8:13-17. He was not only a victorious warrior, but also a confident and secure leader. When other leaders of Israel were jealous of his exploits in battle 8:1-4, he responded in a classy and humble manner that should be duly noted. We'd do well to handle conflict in our churches this way…build others accomplishments up and highlight their skills over our own.

Did you guys catch the numbers? He won several battles with 300 men. 300 Men! 300 pursued and dominated an opposition that outnumbered them by ridiculous odds. Here's a man, who once he was sure of God's plan and calling, went after it and got the job done. We can question his apprehension at first, but once he followed through with the plan, boy did he follow through! He was certainly a great leader and a man of great faith.

By all rights Gideon is a legend of epic proportions, ranking him with some of the all time greats. But I’d like to raise a question for you, did Gideon build a legend and forget to build a legacy?

Sure, Gideon's story is still being told today, but what of his legacy? What did he pass down to the next generation…to his 70+ sons? This is where we come back to the downfall. The Judges 8 passage is silent on this, so we can only speculate, what happened with Gideon? Did he look back and think “wow, I really am a great warrior''? Did he come off of his spiritual high of seeing God use him in a mighty way and think “ok God, I've got this, thanks I'll take it from here”? Exactly WHY we don't know, but what we do know is WHAT. Things begin to unravel with Gideon taking his bounty and making an Ephod which became a snare for his whole family. We also know that he had 70 sons, many wives, and a concubine.

Man of God that Gideon was, how could he have possibly had time to pour his faith story into his sons in his later years? Did Gideon live off of the fame of yesterday and forget to impart Godly wisdom into his sons? Think about the Deuteronomy 6 principle: “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.. Deut 6:7” If God's design for passing down His fame to the next generation was through the fathers, it would appear that Gideon was a living off the legend of his own accomplishments. As we read on into the future chapters in Judges, we find that Gideon's legacy as a man of faith quickly ends.

This whole exchange brings me to today's take away. When I sit back and think of the way we are all wired as men, it seems to be pretty easy to fall into the same category as Gideon did. Look at the way our society operates, it wires us from birth to be ACHIEVERS…by the world's standards. Make good grades in school so you can get into a good college. Get into a good college so you can get a good job. Get a good job so you can get a cool house and a fast car. Get a better job so you can make more money. Make more money so you can retire. Retire so you can die happy? The whole thing is propped up on the idea that we are building ourselves into a success, but only by the world's standards.

Where in that path to success are we encouraged to pour our love for God into our sons and daughters? What is really gained if we gain wealth, but in the end our family never really knew us (and never learns of the God who saved us)? As men of God, we are called to first minister to our families by living out the Deut 6 principle. Who else better to tell our kids of the Lord's faithfulness than us? What better success, than to pass down a legacy of faithful God followers? Legends come and go with death, but a Legacy will last for many generations.

Today, I want to work towards building a Godly legacy in my home. Whether the day brings triumphs or failures in the work place, I want to tell my sons and daughter of the goodness of God. I want them to hear more about what the Lord has done than about what I have done. While there's a time for bragging on dear old dad, I want my exploits to stand in the shadows of the cross. I want Him to be first in all things today.

 

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  • Steven Gregory

    Once again, I learned so much from not only reading the great post (Mr Rooks) but feel that Keith boiled it down perfectly with ” Many times we focus on the behavior and do not focus on an intimate relationship with God”. I have to think that Gideon learned how to be such a warrior and lost focus on God.

  • dddaaaaannnnnggggggg! These words wrecked me today, Dr. Rooks ..

    “Whether the day brings triumphs or failures in the work place, I want to
    tell my sons and daughter of the goodness of God. I want them to hear
    more about what the Lord has done than about what I have done.”

    I’m more than appreciative of your perspective today. It’s great to get such a golden nugget out of a reading like this.

    Thinking more about legacy right now..what AM I passing down? What values DO my kids see lived out before them? What does my LIFE look like offstage?

  • Brad Bacon

    Really good Post James!

    Not to further second-guess Gideon here, but just sayin’ – looking closely back at Judges 7 and 8, Gideon is (initially) a bit of a doubting Thomas (although since Thomas wasn’t born yet, we can’t call him that, right?) Anyhow, his challenging the Lord to prove himself (make the fleece wet, make the fleece dry) seems to be a foreshadowing of chinks in his spiritual armor, later proved out in his inability to truly lead his family in the Lord. Nobody is perfect, clearly, but I think the message of this post – that the legacy is more important than the legend – is a really strong one. I am praying that I can lead my family with that in mind and get MYSELF out of the way.

    • James Rooks

      Thanks for the comment Brad. Hoping that we see more men building the legacy!

  • keith senator

    What a superb post. Thank you Mr. Rooks. I came away with the same thought of legacy. You see the aftermath of poor father figures all around us. I want my children to see my utter dependency on God. I want them to see me praise Him, pray with them, teach them how to walk with God. Many times we focus on the behavior and do not focus on an intimate relationship with God. In the end, everything works out if we do this. Even if we have hard times, we are sustained by the Father. Again, superb post.

    • James Rooks

      Keith, you’ve got it man. The thought that kept running through my mind as I wrote the the post for today was how a lot of our culture is basically fatherless. Either dad isn’t there physically or he is there physically, but is checked out mentally. Consequences for this are pretty evident.

    • YES..utter dependency..despite what the world views as “victory” or “failure”.. Thanks for helping drive the point home Keith. Great word.

  • Jeff Morton

    I believe this is the biggest battle we face as men walking together. Our flesh always succumbs to pride. Even when I surrender and act in obedience I can feel myself thinking “yeah, I just did something awesome!” with best intentions friends congratulate and thank me and that leads to false humility. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken in honest accountability with brothers beside you as well as those who follow. Great points today!

    • James Rooks

      I love the quote “yeah, i just did something awesome!”

      I’m feeling a John Waller song coming on… “I’m done building my own kingdom, no more seeking worthless idols…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

      Starts with us man!

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