We live in a world that glorifies the spotlight. It’s just our human nature. Who do we interview after a Super Bowl victory? It’s the quarterback. Who do we honor for a great military triumph? It’s the general. However history is replete with unsung heroes whose efforts go unrecognized. In the church, our tendency is to create a spotlight-effect on certain people as well. Week after week we see preachers, elders, teachers, and deacons serving as leaders to guide us in our effort to conform to Christ. Even though congregational leadership (as instituted by God) is essential for our spiritual growth, sometimes we can forget where the influence really comes from. It can discourage Christians who serve behind the scenes if we rank importance by the amount of time we spend in the spotlight. However, if we look at God’s pattern in Scripture, He does some of His most powerful work through humble, working-class people.
Take the prophet Amos for example. Amos wasn’t known for eloquent speeches or religious credentials; and he certainly wasn’t going to win any popularity contests! Amos was a true “country boy” with no interest in the prestige attributed to religious leaders:
“I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock and the Lord said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’” (Amos 7:14–15)
Just like today, people in Amos’ time granted prophets a special status. While the word “prophet” usually refers to someone who speaks for God through inspiration and revelation, it was also used to describe a profession that resembles modern-day preachers. Young Jews would train as prophets under the mentoring of an older prophet they called their “father.” (cf. 1 Samuel 10:11-12). These men had a special status in the Jewish community as the religious leaders.
Although Amos spoke a message from God, he freely admits that he is not a “professional prophet.” Instead his personal expertise lay only in herding sheep and growing figs. Yet despite the fact that Amos wasn’t held in high esteem by the people for his speaking prowess, he served God by delivering one of the toughest messages revealed in Scripture.
Even though not every Christian spends their week preparing sermons or leading the congregation in worship, God does some of His most powerful work through humble, working-class Christians. These members of the body have the ability to preach life-changing sermons every day in the community they work in. These Christians have opportunities to reach many lost souls who would never darken the door of a church building to hear some “famous preacher.” We must never forget that God does not favor superstars. God’s spotlight shines brightest on those who allow Him to rule in every facet of their life…whose life purpose aligns with His purpose. Although we may not make the headlines in our service for Christ, God delights in His unsung heroes.