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The Obscurity Lists

Have you ever read through the Old Testament?  I decided I wanted to read it recently because honestly, I’ve never read it cover to cover. I’m not done yet, not even close.  I feel like the Israelites wandering through the desert only I’m wandering through some of these books, thinking to myself, “Why do I need to know this? Why is this important?

I believe if it’s in the Word of God, then it’s important.  I may never know why.  Like the family lines and who led what tribe.  Really?  My eyes drift over the page, skimming.  My mind wandering.  I’m one of those people who have to read every word or I consider it not read.  I breathe a sigh of relief when I get to the end of the lists.  “Do I really need to know, not just the names of these people but who their fathers were and what tribe they are from?

Like the names on those lists, most of us will live lives of obscurity.  I mean that in the best way possible.  These people were important to their generations and families.  They were leaders but we don’t know them.  We have a list of their names but that’s it.  They are not a Moses, Joshua or Caleb.  We may not know who they are but God does.  He knows all about them, their jobs and families.  What was in their hearts.  He listed them in His Word.  That’s pretty big in my books.

They may just be an endless list to us but to God, they are living, breathing people.  His people.  People who He called to do a job and they did.  Not to applause or fame and recognition.  Not to success or money.  To Him.  And they were faithful to their calling.

I think we get caught up in the hype of the Name Fame Game.  I know I do.  You gotta go out there and make a name for yourself.  That’s what we tell our graduates from high school and university.  No pressure there by the way.

We think that to be important to God, we have to have a name for ourselves.  We have to be out there, spinning our platforms and selling ourselves, our brands, our product or our churches.  I think we have it all wrong.  I think I have it all wrong.  I’m not even going to try and pretend this isn’t an issue for me as a writer.  I mean, I didn’t pick journalism as a career choice because it’s a behind the scenes job!  I struggle with this.  I’ve had to think about this.  A. Lot.

I’ve come to the conclusion, that there is a place for some of that, some of the time.  It is how the world works but don’t you get sick of it after a while?  Even I do.  It starts to become lame.  The other thing I’m learning is this; what it doesn’t mean is that my life is determined by it or hangs in the balance because of it.  I serve a much bigger God than any platform on any given day.

Some of us will be called to public ministry and may God grant us heaping does of humility.  May He have our hearts so close to Him that we never even want to take a look to the left or the right.

For the rest of us, we live life in the lane of obscurity.  According to the world.  According to platform.  According to success.  But what do they know anyway?  Like the list of obscure names in the bible, God knows our names.  He knows our hearts and He knows what He’s purposed for us in our lives.

I was asked on the weekend who was a hero of mine.  It wasn’t anyone famous.  Who had made a name for himself or herself.  It was a grade two teacher who taught my child not just academics but about life.  He taught him intelligence is a gift, run with it because their are no limits to what you can do.  He exemplified that doing your job well every day matters because the people who you encounter in it, are worth it.  He is my hero because he made a difference in an entire class of grade two and three kids.  Nobodies in the world’s eyes.  Yet. His impact upon their lives could make the difference and he taught like it.

Our obscure lives as moms and dads, friends, community leaders may never garner us fame or wealth or anything other than the satisfaction of knowing we were faithful to our calling.  That we made a difference to someone.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s an obscure act but to the One who sees everything, it’s noted.  Maybe added to a heavenly list.