Samson had it all, according to his community’s standards. But something was still missing.
The Ndrukpa people live on the border of Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. In this area, most people are hunters and subsistence farmers who have limited access to education and health care. The Ndrukpa people also tend to be marginalized by neighboring people groups.
In this agricultural society, wealth often means animals and crops. And as the chief priest—the one responsible for offering sacrifices—Samson had all the wealth he needed.
When the World’s Wealth Couldn’t Satisfy
Idol worship feeds on fear and unmet desires. People would bring Samson sacrifices to ensure the health of a newborn baby, plead for a woman who was struggling with infertility, ensure a good harvest, or help an older man find a wife.
As for Samson? He had enough wealth and status to marry three wives. He recalls being known as a “big person in the community” who received great honor from his people.
But deep down, Samson knew something was wrong. He watched too many desperate people sacrifice all they had, only to receive nothing in return. His uncle, a Christian evangelist, would often share God’s Word with Samson. But neither Samson nor any of his other family members would go to church.
Samson Meets the Unknown God
Two of Samson’s three wives left him. But the one wife who remained chose to follow Jesus and started taking their children to church with her.
Samson remained in his traditional practices for a long time before he finally visited the church with his family. There, the pastor preached from Acts 17:23–24 in Samson’s heart language of Ndrulo. When Samson learned about Paul visiting the altar in Athens that read “To An Unknown God,” he realized he’d also been working for an unknown God.
Yet all the while, his uncle had been teaching him about the living God who created the heavens and the earth—a God who can be known, loved, and experienced.
A Wealth that Satisfies
And so Samson decided to leave his wealthy, powerful lifestyle, which he realized was based in deception, for the truth and love of God. He stopped sacrificing animals to idols and received the perfect sacrifice of Christ.
Even if he has less material wealth than before, he now lives under the protection and provision of God. Daily, he experiences the truth of Proverbs 15:16 (NIV): “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.” He shares that he’s enjoying being free of pressure from the people who didn’t get the results they were hoping for after making sacrifices, and he is no longer tormented by haunting dreams.
Best of all, he enjoys a peaceful life at home with his wife and children, rooted in the Word of God. Like the family of the overseer in 1 Timothy 3:4, his children respect him and listen to his advice. He even continues to hold the respect of the community.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
— 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
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