Friday, March 28, 2008

Wanted: Dunderhead

In fairy tales, the brave young knight who proves himself by slaying the dragon and rescuing the damsel gets to be the king. God doesn't work this way. He tends to gravitate toward the dunderhead.

I'm not really sure where the word dunderhead comes from (although Dictionary.com claims it emerged around 1615 from Dutch origins). I just know it's a word my better half uses to describe ... dunderheads! You know, someone who isn't playing with a full deck, who's one piece of bread shy of a full loaf, who's not the sharpest tool in the shed. A dunderhead.

If you've never thought of yourself as a dunderhead, you are either really egotistical or in complete denial. Even King David realized he was a dunderhead. Look at this:

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" -- 2 Samuel 7:18

Shoot, before God identified David to Samuel, he was just another nameless Joe. David's father, Jesse, is asked by Samuel to bring out all his sons for examination because the Lord has chosen one of them to be king over Israel. One by one they parade past Samuel, who is increasingly impressed by each but who is told by the Lord over and over again, "Not that one, not that one, not that one." Sensing Samuel's frustration, the Lord assures him, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

David's own family thought so little of him that after all his brothers had appeared before Samuel and he asked, "Is that it?" They replied, in effect, "Well, there's our little brother David, out in the fields with the sheep, but come on ! He's a real dunderhead!" (Translation by Tammy)

As soon as David appears, the Lord says, "That's the one" and Samuel anoints him, though reluctantly.

You know, if God didn't make such great use of dunderheads, we might all be out of a job! It's almost comforting to come to terms with our own dunderheadedness. Permission to be a screw up, thank you very much! Heck, there are plenty of days when I walk in the rehab facility where I teach Bible study and say to the Lord, "OK, ready when you are." There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that most of what comes out of my mouth is straight from God. I don't mean that in an egotistical way, as in I'm God's mouthpiece. I always have something prepared, but God brings it all together somehow (and even changes it completely at times.) Why? Because I'm a dunderhead. (But a submissive dunderhead at least!)

If you have ever felt like, "I couldn't possibly do that. I don't have the skills. Everyone will find out what an idiot I am," good! That's a sure sign that God is in control. If the Lord always appointed the people with all the skills, wouldn't we likely try to take all the credit?

It reminds me of the Old Testament story of Gideon, whom the Lord sent to fight the Midianites. The Lord was concerned that after He delivered the Midianites into Gideon's hands, his soldiers would try to take the credit. So the Lord kept requiring Gideon to reduce the ranks by various means. Finally, he tells him:

"There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go." So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. -- Judges 7:4-6

What kind of soldiers are so unconcerned about their surroundings and the impending attack of the enemy that they would get down and lap up water from a stream like a dog? Dunderheads of course! And these are the guys the Lord used to destroy the camp of the Midianites. (Actually, they all just blew their horns and broke some jars, throwing the Midianites into such confusion that they turned their swords on one another.)

When I'm weak, he is strong. When I don't got it, he does. When it's time to stick a fork in me 'cause I'm done, he's just rolling up his sleeves and getting started.

Hey, I don't mind admitting that I'm a dunderhead. I know that God is able to use me regardless. For those whom he calls, he also equips.

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