Gideon 2.0—doing battle with the weapons of God
How many people does it take to clean the streets of a megacity? That’s easy: “Millions,” comes the answer from the children. But a single soldier without even a sword shows that things can also be done differently. Following are some highlights from a children’s service with the Chief Apostle.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” On 14 July 2017, this Bible passage from Romans 12: 21 served as the basis for a divine service that incorporated two firsts: on the one hand, thousands of children experienced their very first divine service with the Church leader, and on the other, Jean-Luc Schneider conducted his very first children’s service as Chief Apostle.
Some 4,000 children had gathered inside the Kawama Central church in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo). Over 14,000 more found a place to sit under the tarpaulins that had been set up all around the church building. And yet another nearly 26,000 young viewers in other central congregations in the surrounding areas were connected by television.
Doing the impossible with God
And to start off with, all of them are puzzled and astonished by the Chief Apostle. First he equips some representative children with cleaning equipment. But then he begins to reduce the cleaning staff. The city of Lubumbashi, with its 1.6 million inhabitants, is now to be cleaned by only the 4,000 children seated within the church building. On second thought, the ones seated directly in front of the stage can remain seated. And as for the rest of them, only those who really want to participate need to do so.
“Do you think we could manage the work that way?” asked Chief Apostle Schneider. “No, that would be impossible. But today we will learn how the dear God asked a man to do something totally impossible—and we will also learn how this man managed it simply by obeying God.”
Overcoming the odds with Gideon
And this man’s name was Gideon. In order to protect the people of Israel from the thieving Midianites, he was able to drum up a force of more than 30,000 supporters. And although the forces of the enemy were four times larger, God wanted to reduce the size of Israel’s army. In the end, all that was left was a troop of 300 men against an enemy force of 135,000. “How strange! The dear God sure is funny,” smiled the Church leader.
“And that was not all!” The little group of fighters was not even equipped with weapons! All they received were some trumpets and torches covered by pitchers. But that was all the 300 men needed in order to succeed in doing exactly what God had commanded them to do: they smashed their pitchers, lifted up their torches, and blew into their trumpets. The enemy fled in terror, and some of them even fought against one another!
Fighting evil with goodness
“And now, let’s come back to us! God has also given us a battle to fight! We are to do battle against evil.” And what is evil? “That is everything that separates us from God and causes human beings to suffer.” And how can we fight against this? By healing the sick and punishing evil people? “No, God has not given us this power,” said the Chief Apostle. But instead, He has given us three other weapons, namely
- prayer:“We ask the dear God, ‘Give me the strength to do good things. Give me the strength to obey Your commandments. Help my neighbour who is suffering.’”
- obedience: “Even if my friends do not keep the commandments, I will keep them. Even if everyone else lies, I will tell the truth. Even if all of them are bad, I will be good. Even if all of them steal, I will remain honest.”
- love: “Let us love our neighbour by comforting those who suffer and by sharing with others.”
“That is our great battle against evil: each one of us must fight in our own place, and then the evil around us will retreat,” said Chief Apostle Schneider in conclusion. “That is how we show others what Jesus wishes to accomplish. And when Jesus returns, He will liberate us from evil forever. Do you like that plan?”