There is a longing in all of us—or most of us at least—to rise above obscurity and to be known for our greatness. Even Christians can long to be among the great. This is the subject of this little excerpt from Matthew Redmond’s The God of the Mundane.
There are two kinds of pastors, in the main: those who speak at conferences with green rooms* (I’m not kidding; they have green rooms—with spring water, I guess) and those who want to do so. The men who led our churches into faithfulness have little gremlins tugging at their ego, telling them they are not doing anything special unless they are being distinguished.
How could they possibly have any other message besides one in which the listener walks away with the purpose of doing something special to change the world? All for the glory of God.
I mean, who would want to be a person no one has ever heard of? What kind of person just goes about their business in this rock-star culture? What pastor or pew-sitter wants to remain nameless, living in year-in and year-out obscurity—especially when fame and reputation and notoriety are ripe for the picking? Why would we be Greta Garbo, dodging the public, when there’s YouTube?
But I say: Be nobody special. Do your job. Take care of your family. Clean your house. Mow your yard. Read your Bible. Attend worship. Pray. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Love your spouse. Love your kids. Be generous. Laugh with your friends. Drink your wine heartily. Eat your meat lustily. Be honest. Be kind to your waitress. Expect no special treatment. And do it all quietly.
You want to be a spiritual hero? Distinguish yourself? Ironically, you have to give it up. This sounds like “lose your life so you can save it” for a reason. Being nobody special will feel like losing your life, maybe the life you’ve dreamed of in front of the mirror. In front of the pastor, or as a pastor. But to distinguish yourself in our world, you must be happy about being a nobody.
* Tim’s note: I have been in many green rooms. Typically green rooms are merely a tiny, isolated room somewhere in the basement of a church or other venue where speakers can have a few quiet moments to pray and go over their notes. I have yet to see one that offers spring water. Trust me when I say they sound far more posh than they really are!