“And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?”
The story of Jephthah is interesting because of how it began. Jephthah was an illegitimate child who was driven out of the country because his brethren did not want him. He was hated because he was the son of a strange woman, and his brethren didn’t want him to have any part of their inheritance.
The story changed in the verse above when his countrymen faced the Ammonite army. They knew that the only man who could defeat this great army was Jephthah, so they swallowed their pride and asked him to become their captain. What was it that turned these men from hating him into men who wanted him to lead them?
First, he had something that they wanted. He had an army of men who knew how to fight, and they needed those men to help deliver them from the Ammonites. One way to get people to desire you is to have something that they don’t have. I am always amazed how people who have nothing to do with me and never return my phone calls will suddenly want me when I can benefit them. Though it may be a bit disingenuous for them to want me, I realize that having something they need is what makes me valuable to them. If you will work to have something that others want, you will find that you can become valuable to those who previously showed disinterest in you.
Second, knowing something that they didn’t know is what turned hatred into love for Jephthah. He knew how to fight battles, and they did not. One way to make yourself valuable to others is to obtain knowledge that others don’t have. You can become a valuable asset on the job or in society by learning something that others do not know. Don’t ever underestimate the value of continuing to learn through life. If you learn something that others do not know, you will build yourself a secure future.
Third, knowing someone that they did not know is what turned hatred into love for Jephthah. He knew the LORD like they did not know Him. His ability to get God to respond to his prayers and lead him made him indispensable to those who once hated him. The best way to make yourself invaluable to others is to get to know the LORD like they do not know Him. When you know the LORD, others will want to know you so they can learn how to get close to Him.
Fourth, Jephthah could do something they could not do. Being able to defeat the army that they could not defeat made Jephthah a valuable commodity to his brethren. If you learn to do something that others want to do but can’t do, you will find yourself becoming valuable to all. If you can get prayers answered, build a Sunday school class, walk your converts down the aisle, or build a church, you will find that others will want to have you because they will want to learn what you have done.
Fifth, Jephthah had a power they did not have, and that is what turn hatred into love. He had the Holy Spirit’s power on his life, and that made him invaluable to these people. My friend, the Holy Spirit’s power on your life will cause you to be needed by all. It is God’s power on your life that can make you needed by those who previously didn’t want you.