Divine Irony


Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?  (1 Cor. 1:27, The Message)

One thing that has stuck from my years studying history at university is the significance that “inconsequential” people play in world events.  Take the writer of Romans, for instance.  Tertius was employed as an amanuensis (to take dictation) for Paul.  He made the book of Romans possible and yet is barely remembered for this feat let alone anything else in his life.  And what about the man, probably a shoemaker or tailor by trade, who stood in for a preacher on Jan 6, 1850 and delivered a gospel speech (albeit not eloquently) which led to 16 year old Charles Haddon Spurgeon being saved?  No one remembers his name and yet the impact he has had is tremendous.  In the reading, a former slave called Callistus became the bishop of Rome.  And what about the various teachers and theologians that gave rise to Tertullian, Polycarp, and Origen?

The more we read in Shelley’s book, the more I find myself dwelling on the briefness of our earthly life.  There are so many important figures in church history that furthered the gospel, bringing it to forgotten pockets of people, and have carried their anonymity to the grave.  We might join that elite remnant someday – furthering the gospel in such a way that our deeds are forgotten but the Deity is glorified.  What a divine irony! To be a “nobody” in the kingdom of God would be a greater honor than any celebrity status this world could give.  Whether God positions us in places of authority or our “day of small beginnings” (Zech 4:10) continues into eternity, it doesn’t really matter.  God, eternally seated on his throne, delighted in his children, glorified in the nations, is compensation enough.


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