DO YOU KNOW THAT GOD HAS NO HIDDEN OR OBSCURE SERVANTS?
- The courage of the soldier is tested in how well he stands where the battle is the hottest, not in how brave he postures himself where the battle has passed (Martin Luther)
- The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from others, you’ve arrived (Ashley Smith)
- There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the incarnation (Madeleine L’Engle)
- God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him (Hudson Taylor)
- The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become (Henry Martyn)
- You have several prominent features on your body that you could live without. It is the hidden parts of your body that are indispensable. The same is true in the Body of Christ. The most significant service is often the service that is unseen (Rick Warren)
TEXT: Matthew 25: 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
In a culture where those in the limelight are celebrated, it is possible to feel obscure and unimportant. It gets challenging when the beliefs of those in power are regarded as the norm while the services of those invisible servants are unnoticed and taken for granted. In a Christian union, a few people are selected to serve in various committees and have the opportunity to be part of a team that makes choices. That same format is replayed in some of the churches. It is easy to feel like one is not good enough and, in some cases, the selected group can act in ways that confirm the non-encouraging feelings. It is important to know that there is no one whose service is unknown to God. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Keep on serving God! Bloom where you are in as long as the word of God is what feeds you and so lights your path. Whether you are known or not well known, the God we serve ‘sees in secret’ and He is the one who knows the one who is serving Him (Matthew 6:6,18). Your labor that may include standing for what is right rather than what is popular because you are committed to the Lord is not in vain.
EVERYONE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN GOD IS CALLED TO SERVE
Though the scripture does not seem to specify what particular area to engage, there is no such thing as a non-functioning member in the body of Christ. Just as there is no such a thing as a non-functioning member of the human body, and in fact the hidden members are more vital. If Christ is in you and His word is what feeds your beliefs, then the outcome of that relationship is service in whatever He tells you to do. Keep your candle burning, and it may surprise you who are giving glory to God because of that light even if you do not hear any acknowledgements. Apostle Paul had such unnamed people in mind whom he referred to as “my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” (Phil. 4:3).
DEFINING GOD’S WORK
In my early years of life, I witnessed the glamorous ordination service for my father as one set aside to serve God in a priestly role instilled in my mind about the work of God. My father and those like him were set aside to look after the spiritual matters of people- ‘Aria maroraga maroho ma andu’. That includes baptizing people, preaching, presiding over worship services, visiting the sick and burying the dead. Other people picked tea and coffee, milked cows, taught in school, or were in transport or trade. It was not until I started questioning how Jesus' life and work fitted in this paradigm that I understood better. Jesus Christ said the scripture had been fulfilled in the people’s hearing when He read the scripture, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). That is all God’s work. It is people in whom the Spirit of God dwells and are obedient that are in mission.
This poem has been very meaningful. “Lord of all pots and pans and things, Since I’ve not time to be A saint by doing lovely things or Watching late with Thee Or dreaming in the dawn light or Storming Heaven’s gates Make me a saint by getting meals and Washing up the plates”. Washing dishes and making meals is also God’s work.
Rev. Andrew Demostes talking of unknown servants of God says, “There are many members of our parish who make significant contributions to the quality of our Christian witness and service, but who do so quietly and anonymously. I am reminded of one woman, now gone to her just reward, who would often press money into my hand and name a needy person to whom she wanted me to give it. She always insisted that I tell no one of her constant generosity to others. I also think of another man who seeks no praise for his service. Yet he is always ready to fix something at the church or in the home of a needy or elderly parishioner. When necessary, his car is always available to provide transportation. While he is known by those he helps, he wants no other recognition or acknowledgement. Still another wonderful woman is so poor and frail that she seems unlikely to be able to help anyone; and yet, her service may be the most sublime and valuable of all. She regularly calls me to ask for the names of those in our parish who are sick and suffering, and makes them a part of her unceasing prayers to God”. The actions of the people communicate eloquently who Jesus Christ is and what the kingdom of God is about.
God knows everyone in whose heart His spirit reigns as he told Elijah (1 Kings 19:18). In the days of Ahab when people honored God with their lips while serving the gods of Jezebel, God knew the prophets who had to be hidden from the wrath of those in power. Such is the culture where Christians who start off as servants of God end up as celebrities who become addicted to attention, unaware that always being in the spotlight blinds a person. Whether hidden in the caves in order to be protected from their own who start in the spirit and end up in the flesh, or otherwise ‘Do not quench the Spirit’ (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
God who chooses his servants, equips them, knows when they are on duty and where they are. Some of the servants in God’s service are in the limelight and should be careful not to communicate that those who seem obscure are not important. Self-promotion and seeking approval can hinder one from being God’s servant. “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). God expects those in whom His Spirit is living to give of themselves fully to serve Him. “Let him be cursed who does the Lord's work half-heartedly” (Jeremiah 48:10). To be in God’s service means giving up the right to control one’s schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever he needs to. One should be prepared to take a stand not necessarily at those places where one is celebrated, but where the values people live by do not reflect Godliness. What should concern every believer is to be included in God’s book of life. God has no hidden or obscure servants because they are known to Him. Bloom where you are aware that the one whose Spirit is in you has His eye on you. Our service should encourage others who are in the same mission to do their best to be aware that continuity or promotion is attaining eternity with Christ. How do you encourage those servants of God who doubt their effectiveness because they are not prominent?
‘The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed’ (Hudson Taylor)