About 10 percent of the people in the world are left-handed, and they live with frustration. The world was not made for them. Things do not work well for left-handers.
Almost everything we use is designed for right-handers — paper cutters, camera buttons, bicycle bells, pay phones, scissors.
Everything that cranks, cranks right-handed — pencil sharpeners, can openers, pepper mills.
Most musical instruments are designed for the right-hander — guitars, trumpets, trombones, saxophones. The hard parts for the piano are for the right hand.
Our language also has it in for lefties. We talk about someone having “two left feet.” But when we do something noble and important, we “lift our right hand to swear” to the truth.
Even the Bible seems to prefer right-handed people. “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” And when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, the sheep get the chosen place at his right hand; the goats get the rejected place at his left.
And if you feel entirely “left out,” what are you going to do? Appeal to the “Bill of Rights”?
Left-handed people have a hard time, and the rest of us are kind of amused as they try to make their clumsy way through life.
But there’s a story in the Bible of a left-handed man who sees that God can use his uniqueness (Judges 3:12-30). His name is Ehud, and his plan is to assassinate Eglon, King of Moab, and free Israel from years of oppression.
Ehud hides an 18-inch, double-edged blade, with no crossbar, under his clothes on his right thigh. He intends to sneak it past the guards while presenting Israel’s annual tribute to Eglon. The guards will be eyeing left thighs, the normal place for a right-hander’s weapon. But when the opportunity presents itself, Ehud fails to act and leaves the palace discouraged and defeated.
On his way home, he passes a landmark, a historical marker — the twelve large stones that Israel had brought out of the dry river-bed when God had cut off the Jordan at flood stage so they could enter the land (Joshua 3-4). The stones were to be a memorial that God’s power had brought Israel into the land and given it to them forever.
Over the 100 years since Joshua had created the memorial, however, Israel had forgotten the true meaning of the stones. The stones had become a distant memory, a legend, a myth, a good-luck charm. That’s why the Bible calls them “idols” in this passage — literally “shaped stones,” “stones shaped like they were cut from a quarry, or smoothed by water.” Instead of using the word “memorial,” the Bible simply calls them “shaped stones” that have become like an idol because Israel has forgotten their true meaning.
But as Ehud goes by them on his way home, he stops and looks at the pile of stones. And their original meaning comes back to him. He is struck again by what they stand for — “These stones mean that God has given us this land, not Moab. Moab has no right to be here. This is our land. God gave it to us forever.”
With fresh courage, he returns to Eglon’s palace. He remembers his landmark and his left hand, and he does something for God that no right-handed man could do.
My friend, you too have landmark moments in your life, memorial times when you came face to face with the power of God. You have moments in your past when you were overwhelmed with God’s presence and stunned by his reality.
Out of those landmark moments, God calls you to his service. And he has given you some unique ability, some special skill to do something for him that others cannot do. You have a “left hand” that God’s people need, and he calls you to serve his people with it.
Remember your landmark and your left hand.