There was only one Abraham in his generation—perhaps in several generations. There was only one Joseph in his generation—perhaps in several. The same might be said of Moses, David, Isaiah, and of a handful of other biblical figures. Similar statements might be made regarding extrabiblical figures such as Martin Luther or C. H. Spurgeon. These are men with enviable exhibitions of faith and larger-than-life exploits; they played out their lives on a magnificent stage witnessed by multitudes. Without doubt, the Lord intends those of us called to more ordinary service to be both exhorted and encouraged by the faith they demonstrated and the lives they lived. But we are misguided if we think that we have failed if our lives fail to qualify for inclusion in some imaginary Who’s Who in the Christian World.
Take Chloe, for example. Who? Chloe! None could write even a one-paragraph biography or more than a one-sentence description of this saint without engaging in speculation. Here is the total of what the Bible has to say about this woman. Addressing the church at Corinth, Paul writes: “I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor. 1:11). Apparently, someone from Chloe’s household was concerned enough about the divisions and quarrels that were threatening to destroy the church in Corinth that they reported the trouble to Paul. Whether Chloe lived in Corinth or Ephesus or in their immediate vicinity, whether she belonged to one or the other of the two churches in those cities, we are not told. We know her name and that she had “people” or a “household” who reported a grievous situation in the Corinthian church to Paul. How small a thing is that? Yet the Spirit of God chose to immortalize Chloe’s name in the eternal Word.
Having a “household” or “people,” it’s possible that, at least, Chloe might have been well-to-do. But what about Rhoda, a “servant-girl” whose claim to fame is that she opened the door of the gate to admit Peter after he had been delivered from prison by an angel of the Lord and then kept insisting to an incredulous group of praying adults that she knew what she was talking about? Could there be a much more insignificant service? And yet the Spirit of God chose to immortalize Rhoda’s name in the eternal Word.
Anna is much better known than the previous two examples. But for what reason? Simply this: for decades “She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (Lk. 2:37). That is hardly the stuff of legend. No one would ever write a biography about this woman. What would you say—she fasted, she prayed, she—what?—cleaned the temple? And yet the Spirit of God did write her biography and chose to immortalize Anna’s name in the eternal Word.
How quick we are to embrace the heroic acts, the adventurous deeds, the things that make for impressive stories—and properly so. Yet the Word of God is filled with Chloe’s, Rhoda’s, and Anna’s—people who loved, served, and honored their Lord faithfully in ways that we would call mundane, if not utterly insignificant. But God does not view them in that light. Yes, the record of their lives is terse because what they did doesn’t make for riveting reading. But the fact that God names them is ample evidence that they have blessed and honored Him.
He values those who value Him, and He provides evidence that we are greatly mistaken if we long to do some impressive thing while failing to serve in the ordinary moment, or mope around waiting to star in some heroic action. We tend to want to be a Christian John Wayne. But God has an entirely different set of values. God seeks for people who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23). Though less impressive to the carnal observer, the believer who honors God day-by-day in mundane and routine things may be nearly as rare as the one called to do “great” exploits. But make no mistake—to worship God and to honor Him moment-by-moment in our daily lives is no mean accomplishment. Just ask Chloe, or Rhoda, or Anna.
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