"Serving In Obscurity"

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Samuel the prophet was sent to the house of Jesse to select the next King of Israel to replace Saul. Jesse paraded his seven sons in order from the oldest to the youngest. One after the other was eliminated. Viewing each son by his outward stature, each of the potential candidates would have been a worthy choice. But God wasn’t looking for the charisma of a George Clooney, the looks of a Pierce Brosnan or the political savvy of a Winston Churchill. When Samuel asked if there were any other sons, he was told that the youngest was somewhere tending his father’s sheep.

The young man was David. During the selection process he was quietly serving on some hillside or lonely pasture faithfully watching over his father’s sheep. He had already proven his servanthood by killing a bear and a lion that had come to kill the sheep. He did this in obscurity without anyone knowing or seeing except God. He had risked his life to protect the sheep. He hadn’t done this out of eye-service or any desire to be seen of men. His actions had not been motivated out of a desire for self-promotion or the praise of men. He put his life on the line because he was faithful.

This was the man God picked out of obscurity and choose to be the greatest of all the kings of Israel. Even Jesus was called the “Son of David” – not the “Son of Abraham”, the “Son of Moses” or the “Son of Elijah”. David was also called “a man after God’s own heart.”

How unlike the multitudes today who would rather shine than serve? Many today, especially the ambitious young, will do anything and say anything to promote themselves. They strive to be social media wannabes, YouTube stars, conference speakers, hotshot young prophets, popular hip-hop pastors, and celebrity church gurus. It’s all about them, having a following and being a kingdom builder. It’s about spiritual posturing, self-striving and personal agendas - not about being a simple servant.

I have known many self-serving individuals over the last fifty years who never miss an opportunity to promote themselves. I’ve known many ambitious young men and women who want to be seen, to be recognized, and to receive the praises of their fans than to quietly serve in obscurity. For sure, many will come in that day and proclaim, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we done great things in your name?” But God is looking for men and women of humble hearts who simply serve, in whatever capacity they are found, with quiet humility, integrity and faithfulness whether anyone ever notices them or showers them with praise. “Servants…. not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:5-7)

Therefore, be content to serve wherever God has placed you or wherever He finds you whether it is under the watchful eye of men or God. Like the anonymous remnant of Elijah’s day many are doing just that. They serve humbly and quietly away from the bright lights of churchanity. Those who have chosen to serve without eyeservice be among those who receive the highest accolade of the Lord on that day; “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”

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