Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. -- Judges 11:1 (NIV)
Jephthah was the son of a prostitute.
That’s not exactly the start of greatest; far from it—it’s really the start of something that’s doomed to failure before launch. In the eyes of man, Jephthah is pretty much dirt—as low as you can get. Surely not fit to be a warrior that leads Israel to victory.
But the Bible rarely gives us what we expect—it only gives us what we need. Israel wanted a mighty warrior—a respectful figure. God gave them a warrior—but on his terms. God, time and time again, shows that family doesn’t make you; religion doesn’t make you; money doesn’t make you. There’s only one thing that makes you: God. Constantly God turns a nothing into a something.
God doesn’t go out and chose the ones who should excel. He doesn’t find the large, strong man to lead his people; he finds the outcasts and weak men—the men who are better off tending to sheep. And with these men he makes greatness. What does it show? It shows that in God’s eyes that no man is better or stronger or more fit for his grace; we are equal to him. He doesn’t need to find the norm to do the job, because to him the norm is any man and to him any man can do the job just as well.
The thing about God is he never sees anyone or anything like man does. He doesn’t see circumstance—he only sees opportunity. He can turn all of us into opportunity if we let him. There is no one greater and no one less in God’s eyes—every person, when we open our hearts to change, can do amazing things through God.