By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
In the background infers one who is seemingly unnoticed; does not shine brightly as others. They stand behind persons who are in the foreground; who are taking the bows and more prominent in stature.
Scripture tells of the religious in Jesus day who loved the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets (Luke 11:43) to be seen of men (Matthew 23:5); with pretense make long prayers (Matthew 23:14) who outwardly appeared righteous unto men (Matthew 23:28); such were taking the bows but their reward would not be as expected.
In our world today many measure a person's worth by what they possess in the way of material goods, or one's position in life, or family influence. Others stature in life are measured by their many accomplishments in life.
Being in the background is not a bad thing when one's heart and life are tuned into God. When one is a useable vessel for the kingdom's work. When one has a sincere desire to be used of God in whatever capacity God sees fit.
A film told of a missionary being sent to China to continue a work that had been started there. He spent many years there until he was old and less agile. Upon his replacement he did not feel that he had accomplished much in comparison to a childhood friend who, laboring in the same length of time, had been appointed a bishop.
When he first came to the mission field he was only greeted by two individuals; when he left, after all seemingly a lifetime, he had a vast number of individuals, whose lives had been touched over the years by his ministry, see him off. Though he felt he had accomplished little in comparison with his childhood friend; much more had been accomplished as reflected by the overwhelming show of gratitude!
There are many instances of recognition coming later in life. One such recognition came in a missionary effort that seemed to have been a failure to the individual concerned. He spent many years, at the threat of his own life, to minister Christ to a heathen nation but returned to his homeland disappointed and took on a secular job.
Years later; when he was up in age and no longer agile, a person from the country he had witnessed to came to this man's homeland to translate a Bible in his own native tongue. While there he looked up this former missionary and revealed to him that after his having left; the whole nation had turned to Christ through his bringing Christ to them.
A person I came in contact with in the military recently thanked me for being a Christian influence to him over 35 years ago. I was thankful to know that after all those years something was said or done to glorify Christ through seemingly feeble efforts (Romans 6:22). One may feel that the environment God has placed them in is relatively unimportant; but it can be extremely important to a life touched for Christ!
I believe those who have been saved by the precious blood of Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross will find an inward desire to do something in return for His great love. I further believe that He simply wants one to be obedient to do His will; wherever He places one in His kingdom, even if in appears to be in the background with little happening!
In a prophecy were these words: Do you expect me to build my house if not one stone is willing to carry the other? In building, the foundation carries the whole house, but one stone is build upon another and if every stone wants to be at the top of the building, or at least where it can be seen, and is not willing to be placed where the master builder wishes to place the stone, it is impossible to build with such unsurrendered stones.
There needs to be a willingness, on the believer's part, to be utilized however God desires. The apostle Paul wrote: Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10). Paul was wiling to be used as a surrendered stone for Christ in whatever capacity he was placed; whether in the background or forefront. When one feels little is being accomplished that may be when their greatest accomplishments are being manifested for Christ!
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