Well, today is a day of celebration for approximately 10% of the country’s population, including me. That’s because today is the annual day of celebration for left handed people! Clearly, we are in the minority across the land, and the world, but there are several things that can be said about this rare condition that some of us have.
I have to admit that in some circles being off-handed, another phrase for left handed, gives most people the idea that for some reason we are less than normal and certainly don’t get seated at the place of honor. We know that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, not His left hand. But let’s face it, sitting next to God on either side is distinguished.
With Picasso, DaVinci, Michelangelo, Einstein and Beethoven all being left handed, I have to think that there is something to this left handed thing. Scientists have come to believe that this condition is caused by a specific gene and it may, in fact, cause my fellow left handers to have a slight advantage in several areas. In fairness to my right handed counterparts, I also have to admit that there are things that are attributed to left handers that just don’t apply in my case.
For example, left handers are, by and large, prone to be good athletes. You certainly couldn’t come to that conclusion by watching me play anything. I do remember, though, that when I played tennis years ago, I did seem to have an advantage as my opponents were more used to playing right handed players. Come to think of it, so was I. And when I played handball in college at the University of Illinois at Chicago, people thought they were playing to my backhand – in reality it was my forehand.
Let’s face it. I have grown up in a right handed world. And I guess that there are some areas that give us a slight advantage. For example, 57% of left handers pass their driver’s license test on the first try compared to 47% of right handers. And I tend to look at things differently than my right handed brethren. I tend to be creative and have good intuition – scientists attribute that to the greater development of the right side of the brain – the creative side.
I also have a weird kind of sense about being able to predict where there will be open parking spaces or sometimes the shortest lines at the stores – except the grocery store. Right handers tend to favor the right side – we are quite the opposite. So, when people are skewing toward the lines on the right, I head left. And I tend to move clockwise in a room, rather than the more traditional counterclockwise flow of people.
It’s also something of an enigma that left handers tend to type faster and, for some reason, seem to have a more natural inclination at multi-tasking. Personally, I think most of these “advantages” have been learned behaviors as a result of growing up in right handed world. Even the scissors I use were built for right handers, as well as cake servers and many other tools that we use in the kitchen. In fact, I don’t know that I could use a left handed scissors today.
There are only several verses in the Bible that have to do with being lefthanded; and those verses tend to point to the ideas that it is a positive and not a negative. That bring us to the verse for tonight. In the book of Judges, we are told of a conflict between Israel and the people of Gibeah. However, the tribe of Benjamin did not act as part of Israel. This created an awkward situation. Benjamin mobilized 26,000 troops including some people from the area of Gibeah.
The next verses outline that a number of people who were chosen to fight were left handed. We are told the following in Judges 20:16, “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.”
It seems quite clear that the chosen warriors were masters of their craft. My encouragement this evening is that each of us has been divinely endowed with gifts that allow us to contribute to and benefit the kingdom of God. My prayer is that each of us, whether left handed or right handed, can look for the best part in each of us and use it to the glory of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace… by the way, I am glad that I am one of the few who were graced with left handedness!