I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Ecclesiastes 9:13-17 (NIV)
Have you ever seen a situation where you wanted to help, but didn’t think you could? For whatever reason, you hesitated and held back? Maybe you didn’t think you had the skill or the money, the resources or the power? So you did nothing? Oh, maybe you prayed. Maybe you even talked to your friends about it. Maybe you all said, “We should do something.” But, in the end, you did nothing? Because you didn’t think you could make a difference? Yesterday in church, we had a wonderful sermon on the verses above. As you can see, there once was a poor man who lived in a small city. With just a few people living there, it might have even been a tiny town. There were probably not many men left in the city. Most of them had probably been killed in the war being waged against them by the powerful king. So, this man, who might have been too old to fight, was left to protect his family and the others left there with him. They may have been mostly women and children or the infirm. But, while this man was poor in money, in skills, in resources, he was wise. And somehow he did something wise enough to save his city and catch the attention of Solomon, the wisest, richest man who ever lived. The sermon was even more poignant because it was delivered by our church’s Minister of Administration who does not feel he has the gift of public speaking. He shakes and sweats every time he has to preach. But, yesterday, he was the only one to preach because our temporary preacher was diagnosed with leukemia last week. As he spoke, he pointed out four obstacles to taking on tasks God has called us to do. They are:
1. Living small and feeling insignificant. The man could have said, “I live in a small town, I am one of few. I cannot do anything.” But, he didn’t.
2. Feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. The man could have said, “The odds are against me. I won’t even try.” But, he didn’t.
3. Focusing on our lack. The man could have said, “I am poor. I have no resources to help.” But, he didn’t.
4. Desiring to be noticed and famous. The man could have said, “No one recognizes my wisdom.” But, he didn’t.
And because he shared his wisdom, he saved his town. There were several quotes from the sermon I wrote in my Bible. Some were,
“Overwhelming circumstances become overwhelming proof that there is a God,”
“Don’t decide God’s will based upon the available resources, because God can accomplish great things with no resources,”
“The real measure of our significance is what is unseen not what is seen,”
“Seek private reward not public recognition,” and
“God set an entire city free with one poor man’s wisdom.”
He closed his sermon with this challenge, “There is a city waiting for you. What’s stopping you from saving it?”
We would appreciate your prayers, not only for our minister, Joe, who has leukemia, but youngest son’s girlfriend’s dad, who had another brain surgery today. They found another tumor that was growing despite radiation. They did a biopsy today. This one, unlike the others, is cancerous.