I’ve just come back indoors from the weekly clapping for the NHS and Key Workers. In recent weeks, more people and professions are finally getting a bit of the attention and praise that for some reason usually just goes to ‘celebs’. Doctors, nurses, care workers, shop assistants, delivery drivers, refuse collectors, the postal service, teachers, etc etc are, at long last, being recognised; and we are grateful.
Within church, the value of the ‘behind the scenes’ workers has been recognised, particularly in relation to us being able to ‘attend’ church on a Sunday morning; and we are grateful.
It got me thinking, who are the other unsung heroes – not just of this period of lockdown – but of ‘normal’ times. There are bound to many in society at large that we aren’t even aware, or if we are aware, we take for granted – perhaps the farmers and growers, the factory workers, the utility providers… There are also those within our own church whose work goes un-noticed, or if it is noticed is rarely acknowledged. I realise I will be on dodgy ground here if I start a list, because even though this has been on my mind, I’m bound to miss someone/ some area of service! So I won’t type a list, but would encourage you to do so. I think that collectively we would soon realise that our church is full of un-sung heroes: those who contribute hugely to the life of our church through time, gifts, finances – and who have been doing so quietly for years, even decades; and we are grateful.
You may expect me to now turn the focus onto the one true hero – Jesus – and if that is where your thoughts and worship now head, read no further, I won’t stand in the way of that!
But actually, I’ve been wondering who the unsung heroes of the bible are. There must be loads and each of us may have our favourites.
Mordecai (in the book of Esther) is the cousin and guardian of Esther. Mordecai uses his position in the king’s court to stand up for the oppressed people of God and to foil a plot to assassinate the king. God used this ‘minor’ character to ensure salvation through the Jewish people would not be thwarted.
The maid of Naaman’s wife (2 Kings 5) is so unsung, we don’t know her name! It was her faith and her pleading that led to Elisha’s arrival and Naaman’s miraculous healing.
Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses. In Exodus 18, Moses was overwhelmed with his task to lead Israel and it was Jethro’s wise counsel that led Moses to divide his labour into tens, his fifties, hundreds, and thousands to reduce his leadership burden and delegate responsibility to the people of Israel. Mundane perhaps, but this leadership structure is used by businesses and governments the world over.
Ananias was a believer in Damascus who God spoke to in a vision (Acts 9). He was given detailed instructions by God on where to locate Saul and restore his sight. Ananias had a faith strong enough to overcome the fear of approaching a feared persecutor of the church. His role is Saul’s conversion to Paul and his subsequent ministry should not be overlooked.
A guardian, a maid, a father-in-law, a believer. Ordinary people, none of them the ‘celeb’ or hero figure of their time; but un-sung heroes used by God.
Why not encourage someone by sharing who your unsung hero of the bible is?
And ask God to highlight a current unsung hero to you, pray for them, and let them know you are grateful to God for them.
And finally, it is great to know that while we may overlook people, God never does!