Monday, April 22, 2013

The Gloriously Unnoticed

"Are you willing to be one of Christ's etceteras? or must you be one of Christ's somebodies?"

 This quote from C.T. Studd scalds me with white-hot conviction every time I read it. It's filled with such a biting tiredness of self-centrality and wasted lives. That tiredness of my own selfishness, my own tendency towards a wasted life, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit within me, is what has moved my soul to search this area deeper.

Etceteras. Extras. The dictionary definition is: unspecified and additional objects. Odds and ends.

Over the past few months, Jesus has been taking me on a journey. It took me awhile to figure out where we were headed, but I think I'm starting to catch on to at least part of it. It's a journey...into obscurity. It's a journey into being unnoticed, and being joyful about it.

My Jesus is so gracious; you see, when there is something He desires me to see, He shows me Himself. He shows me Almighty, Holy, Sacred, Perfect, GOD. And then...He shows me, me. "me" is very weak, very wasted, very attached to frivolity, very flawed. There is nothing malicious in this comparison that He sets before me; He merely shows things as they are in truth. And, especially when seen through heavenly eyes, the truth of "me" is not all that flattering.

Most recently, my King gently asked the question, "Are you willing to spend everything you have serving Me -your time, your money, your energy, your love- even if no one ever sees? If you never receive even one word of affirmation on this earth?"

The truth of "me" is that "me" wants to be seen. "me" wants to be noticed. "me" wants to be applauded and considered valuable. "me" wants spiritual efforts to be noticed and rewarded by those in authority. "me" wants to increase in popularity and platform --for the glory of God, of course!

But...what if that isn't how the Kingdom of Heaven works?

My favorite biblical example of this is found in John 6. In this chapter is the highly familiar story of Jesus feeding 5,000. It's an amazing, incredible record of the power of our Jesus. This story is recorded in all four gospels, but John gives us one 'extra' detail that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were not inspired to include. Five little words, that's all.
"There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves,
and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?"
John 6:9
And that is the extent of the biblical mention of the boy whose food fed 5,000. His offering to Jesus is counted as insignificant --despairingly so-- by Andrew. His name isn't even mentioned. But do you know whose name is mentioned? Jesus'. Jesus got every ounce of glory from those five loaves and two fishes. Jesus' fame increased. Jesus received all the glory...and thus, a 'lad' is added to the ranks of the Gloriously Unnoticed.

I truly believe that there are thousands in this army --the army of the Gloriously Unnoticed. Those who have lived and died for the name and glory of Jesus in great (and small) ways. We just won't know their names on this earth. Are we willing to be counted among them? Are we willing to become "nothing in the light of God's everything"[1]? To be, by all appearances, forgotten? Do we trust our God enough to believe that He never forgets, even if everything we see points to the contrary?

"He must increase, I must decrease." ~ John the Baptist

I'm not saying that no one will ever know our names, or that receiving a compliment from someone else is somehow stealing glory from God. But is our desire to be seen, and approved of, even for spiritual effort? Or is our desire truly that HE may be seen? It makes all the difference. There is a gap in the ranks of this Gloriously Unnoticed army, created just for you...will you enlist?

[1] Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous