“Are you willing to be obscure in order to be faithful?” With this one question, our bible study leader hit on one of the most exposed nerves in his entire American audience. Like James and John, we are taught, commanded, and rewarded when we strive for greatness, and just the opposite when we are subtle. With aphorisms like, “Any publicity is good publicity” and “It’s better to burn out than fade away”, we are all directed toward fame. We celebrate the loudest, the most flashy, the best known on any team, in any group, and sadly in any denomination.
So it is hard for us to understand how God forbidding David to build the temple is anything but punishment. David has striven his entire life to please God, has done more than anyone should be expected to do, and still God refuses his request to build the temple. David has been threatened, exiled, praised and cursed, and is the King of Israel. Yet his kingship would be capped if he could build “David’s Temple” to the Lord. And still, God says no. And so instead we know of Solomon’s Temple.
Of course, David did not live an obscure life. Jesus Himself is called the Son of David, and is born in the City of David, but for most of us this is not the case. So what happens when God’s call on your life is to work hard and toil your life away in obscurity? How hard it is to do God’s work and never be recognized for it? Is it enough to believe that we will be praised by God in heaven even if nobody knows our names here on earth? Are we willing to be obscure in order to be faithful?
I have to admit, I have an immediate skepticism of anyone who is “famous” in their own area. From pastors to teachers to athletes to superstars, famous people make me nervous. And yet along with the rest of America, I do not want to be unknown. I want to make a name for myself. Unfortunately, the most famous example of this in scripture is at the Tower of Babel, and things did not turn out well for them.
So I am willing to be obscure in order to be faithful. I will follow Jesus even if that means nobody knows my name, or even that I do His will. Are you?