Called to Obscurity


The world loves a hero, and it doesn't take much to become one. Just dunk a basketball well enough, hit a ball farther than anyone else, or sing something in a way that makes people want to pay to hear you...and you're the next icon.

Hero worship is nothing new. Every era and every culture has had its own version of American Idol. But with the avalanche of media outlets, we're drowning in them. Everywhere you look, another example is held up to show us what we're not and should be.

After a while, even the most stable among us can start thinking, "What's wrong with me? Why aren't I on a billboard, a book cover, or at least a cereal box?"

Christians are no exception. We have our own heroes: singers, authors, preachers, speakers. And even when bringing glory to God is your primary focus, it's easy to start thinking: "I must not be doing it right. I haven't done any of that. Those people must be waaaay up there with God."
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So we trudge back to our little corners of obscurity, disappointed with ourselves. After all, what do we have to show for all our years spent on earth? No album cover. No book jacket. No mega church. Maybe not a soul outside your circle even knows your name.

But is God disappointed with you? 

Does he expect you to have made a name for yourself by now? Is he more pleased with Billy Graham than he is with you? Do his eyes light up at the thought of another Ted Dekker book while he barely nods at the half-page church newsletter you put together?

You may laugh and say "Of course that's ridiculous." But wait a minute. Is that what you really believe or is that your "Sunday school answer."

Everyone loves recognition and praise. The harm comes when we start to equate our lack of notoriety with our value.

We know the truth intellectually. But surrounded by a world that adores its heroes, we feel lost in the crowd. Just a number. Another face in the masses. Nobody special.

But think of it this way: Has God called you to fame? Has he placed upon your shoulders the task of conquering the Great and Awesome--or is that your idea?

How much do you know about King David's mother? 
What about the person who led Mother Theresa to the Lord? 
Ever heard of any of George Washington's teachers? 
Who taught Lincoln to be so honest?

God calls most of us to live lives of obscurity, as far as the world knows. It's not a failure on your part; it's design on His. Your name may never be a household word, nor your work live on for future generations. But God does have a special calling on your life and if you're living that calling to the best of your abilities, stand tall.

He may have called you to care for your aging parents, to sweep the church at night, or organize care packages for the troops. He doesn't need your name on a billboard; He already knows it.

My little grandma was four feet tall, crippled from arthritis, living on a fixed income in a tumble-down house she built herself. Her husband had divorced her, but she cared for her bed-ridden former father-in-law until he died. She gathered clothes for the poor, took in homeless families, and did good wherever she went. Nobody outside her poverty-stricken neighborhood knew her name, but you can be sure God does!

She was called to a life of obscurity and she did it well until the day she died. I'm certain she now frolics in a mansion that rivals George Washington's. Maybe bigger.

What about you? Do you labor in unapplauded obscurity and secretly wonder if you're a failure?

It's easy to find out. Are you using everything God gave you for his glory? Are you seeking to please Him every way you can? Have you studied to show yourself approved unto God? Is he free to move you and use you wherever he will?

Then congratulations! You are living your calling. God has chosen you for a life of obscurity and you're succeeding! Let out a big breath and feel good about it. You don't have to worry about negative press, bad reviews, or the changing whims of public opinion.
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Your ratings are secure and God couldn't be more proud of you!
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