“You who rejoice in Lodebar, and say, ‘Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?’” Amos 6:13
It’s a red flag to our spiritual condition when we celebrate victories that do not require faith. That’s exactly what happened to Israel in today’s passage. Lodebar and Karnaim were small, defenseless, and poverty-stricken cities. Yet Israel made a big deal of defeating them without any assistance from the Lord. God’s warning to His chosen people reveals an important principle for believers today. Don’t celebrate the insignificant.
The Bible explains the difference between significant and insignificant service. “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). There is no such thing as a significant work that does not depend on Jesus Christ for its start and completion. He is our foundation.
“Wood, hay, and straw” work can be very demanding because we do it in our own power rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit. Lodebars and Karnaims drain time and energy from the work God has planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). And anything we accomplish “by our own strength” feeds the sin of pride. That’s why Amos 6:8 tells us, “the Lord God of hosts has declared: ‘I loathe the arrogance of Jacob.’”
So, do you get excited about accomplishments that require little to no faith? Or, do you want to celebrate what most glorifies the Lord? You don’t have to look for acts of service to prove your love for Jesus. Simply make yourself available for the work He desires to do.
Discerning the significant from the insignificant requires seeking Him in prayer and searching His Word for wisdom. Evangelist D.L. Moody sums it up beautifully, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”