How are you at sharing the spotlight? In Judges 8:1 we have a classic case of those who wanted the recognition for the victory alone. "Now the men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?" And they reprimanded him sharply. So, he (Gideon) said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that."
In the previous chapter, Gideon sent messengers to all of Ephraim to come and fight against the Midianites and they came and conquered greatly. The Midianites now are angry because Gideon didn't call them before the battle started. Gideon reminds them of their great victory stating that they were better than he in all they were able to accomplish. That response quieted their anger.
Some of us are like the people of Ephraim. They wanted all the glory and the praise. They wanted to be on top. They wanted all the recognition.
As Christians, we are all in this together. We are told in scripture that when one cries, we cry, when one rejoices, we rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Our attitude should be, "One for all and all for one." There should be no competition among the Lord's people. The Christian life is not a competitive sport. We are to support one another, not condemn one another. If one of us are taken in a sin, those who are spiritual are to take up the matter privately with the individual that they may be restored to the Lord (Galatians 6:1-10). Notice it says, those who are spiritual, this doesn't apply to just anyone. The persons should be godly and faithful in their Christian walk. They should go in the attitude of humility recognizing that they themselves could sin because they are susceptible to fall as well.
Are you one for all and all for one? How can we tell if we are or not? Do you sorrow when a fellow believer is in trouble, in despair, sorrowful, depressed, weary and sad? Do you look to see how you can be that rainbow in their cloud? Do you stop and pray for them? Do you pick up the phone and call them from time to time? When they stop coming to church or disappear, do you go after them or do you feel, "Out of sight, out of mind?" Are you glad when they are no longer at your church fellowship? These questions and your honest answers determine the truth of what is in your heart and whether or not you are for your brother or sister. It also speaks to whether you love them or not.
The people of Ephraim had no legitimate reason to be upset with Gideon. Their reaction only proved that they were fleshly and selfish. God gave the victory to all of them in that battle. Why couldn't they share the spotlight? Why couldn't they rejoice along with Gideon at what the Lord God had done that day? Why couldn't they simply focus on God's almighty power and love for them, as His people, and relish the evidence of that?
In situations where your service and efforts go unnoticed, do you get upset and complain about it? If your name was left off of a program, or you were left out of a ministry effort and excluded, do you now fight for your right to be noticed and acknowledged or do you simply take the low place and leave it with the Lord? After all, God knows what you have done and what you mean to that ministry area. He knows everything you contribute to the body of Christ, and He keeps perfect record of it. No man can steal your crown! "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:10).
May the Lord help us to share in the victory of His people. May we be supportive and helpful to each other. May we respect what each person brings to the table and acknowledge the contribution of each believer as more valuable than ourselves. May we give honor where honor is due. May we rejoice together, cry together, and pray one for the other. May we each do our part in strengthening the bond of unity God has designed for His people and do nothing to break it apart. For when one Christian wins, we all win!