This is the 2nd post in brief series on influence. You can read the first post here. I first heard the idea in this post from Erwin McManus in a recorded talk he gave years ago, about the time his book, The Barbarian Way, came out.
We often long to be counted with the Hall of Faith from Hebrews chapter 11. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) The author of Hebrews goes on to list the names of great people of faith from the Bible beginning with Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets. Each person trusted God and their story is recorded in the Bible. Each is a wonderful example of faith. If you’re like me, you often think you’d like to be named with these people to influence others to trust Jesus.
But there’s an interesting transition that the author makes in verse 35. The summary begins in verse 33.
33 “[W]ho by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” Hebrews 11:35-38 NASB (emphasis mine)
Did you see it. Right in the middle of vs. 35, the author stops talking about the heroes of the faith who experience wonderful miracles. All of the sudden, “and others were tortured… experienced mockings, scourgings, chains and imprisonment,” “stoned… sawn in two,” and more.
God’s plan to influence others includes people who suffer tremendous hardship. Many, so many in fact, they’re too many to be named. The named heroes were the exception. The unnamed heroes are the rule.
God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). Everyday, ordinary Jesus-followers are key instruments in God’s plan. We are the least, so that God will be great. He will be seen and He will receive the glory. God seldom uses the big names to make his point. He uses ordinary, everyday Jesus-followers in ordinary, everyday jobs to make an eternal difference.
Will you join Jesus and do his work in your workplace? Check out the Marketplace Mission Trip. We want to train ourselves to go like a missionary to our workplace every day. What other ideas do you have to help you see your daily life as an opportunity to serve Jesus full-time?