There are many names that rush to our minds when we think of Christian Ministry. Those names belong to those who have big organizations and who do ministry through the media. But there are two problems arising from this kind of association in our minds about Christian Ministry:
One problem is that we think that this is what Christian Ministry is all about. We refuse to think of other possibilities of service like sharing and caring. We tend to think only of big things and forget that there are little things that we could do for God–little things that count a lot!
The second problem is that we tend to compare ourselves with big names in Christian Ministry. And of course this comparison would only lead to feelings of inadequacy; making us think that our efforts are not of that importance because it is small, not publicized and insignificant.
The Bible thinks differently. There are two instances where the concern and timely counsel of two people who came from the lowest section of society–a servant and a captive–brought salvation to people.
Example 1: One of the servants (1 Samuel 25)
After the death of Prophet Samuel, David moved down to the desert of Maon. At Maon there was a wealthy but rude man named Nabal. When David heard that Nabal was shearing sheep at Carmel he sent his men to greet him.
He also sent a request to him to give his men whatever he could afford because they were coming at a festive time. Moreover David added that they had safeguarded Nabal’s shepherds, flocks and possessions all the time they were with them.
But Nabal treated David’s men with contempt and sent them away empty handed. He also insulted David by comparing him to a servant who had run away from his master. David’s men went back to David and reported every word Nabal had said. David reacted immediately. He asked everybody to put on their swords and about four hundred people went with him.
Now Nabal’s wife Abigail was an intelligent and beautiful woman. Now one of the servants came and told Abigail that David had sent messengers to Nabal to greet him but Nabal had insulted them. The servant added that David’s men were very good to them. He also said that they had not mistreated them nor was anything of their’s found missing all the time they were near David’s men.
He made it clear that they were like a wall around them night and day. Finally the servant asked Abigail to think about the situation and do something about it. He said that if she did not do something there was going to be disaster for Nabal and his entire household.
Abigail also lost no time. She took a variety of good food and loaded them on donkeys. She set out to meet David. But she did not tell her husband Nabal. Meanwhile David was descending the mountain ravine toward Nabal’s house.
And he was saying that his watching over Nabal’s property in the desert was useless. He thought that Nabal had repaid him with evil for the good that he had done and therefore he was determined to destroy all the male members of his household.
As soon as Abigail saw David she got off her donkey and bowed down. She fell at his feet and asked David to listen to what she had to say. She told him that her husband was wicked and that he was a fool. She also told that she had not seen the messenger that David had sent.
She reminded David that by not taking revenge on his own, God had kept him from needless bloodshed. Because of this his conscience could be free from burden when he became the leader of Israel. She also said that God would protect David’s life and destroy the life of his enemies. She pleaded with David to accept the gift she had brought for his men.
David praised the Lord for having sent Abigail to meet him. He was happy that Abigail had shown good judgment and that he was kept from needless bloodshed. He accepted her gift and granted her request. When Abigail returned home she found Nabal drunk and in high spirits. So she told him about all what happened only in the morning.
When Nabal heard all this his heart failed him and he became like a stone. And after ten days, the Lord struck him and he died. When David heard all this he sent word to Abigail asking her to become his wife. Abigail accepted the offer and became David’s wife.
We find here a pattern emerge: As we look back at this incident we find how great a disaster would have fallen on Nabal’s household. But by Abigail’s timely intervention it was prevented. But as we look at this story once again, the servant who talked to Abigail is just mentioned as one of the servants.
He is an unknown person to the extent that we do not know anything more about him; neither his name or his family. Yet we find that he had concern for the future of his master’s household.
This led him to give a wise and timely counsel to Abigail. And when Abigail acted on the information given to her the entire household was saved from disaster. So we find here the pattern of Unknown Person » Concern » Counsel » Salvation.
Example 2: A young captive girl (2 Kings 5)
Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a valiant soldier through whom God had given victory to Aram over Israel. Therefore he was held in high regard by his master. But there was one problem. This man had leprosy.
Now raiding bands had gone out from Aram. They took captive a young girl from Israel. She was taken to Naaman’s house and she served Naaman’s wife. She told her mistress that if only her master would see the prophet in Samaria he would be cured of his leprosy!
Now Naaman reported this to the king of Aram who gave him a letter addressed to the king of Israel. Naaman left for Israel with a lot of gifts. But the king of Israel tore his robes when he read the letter asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy. He thought that the king of Aram was trying to pick a quarrel with him.
Now Elisha the prophet had heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes. So he sent a message to the king of Israel asking him to sent Naaman to him. When Naaman reached the door of Elisha’s house, Elisha sent a messenger to him asking him to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan so that his flesh may be cleansed.
Naaman was angry. He had thought that Elisha would come out and call on the name of the Lord his God and wave his hand over the spot and cure him of his leprosy. But now that he was asked to wash himself in the Jordan he thought that Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus were much better than any of the waters of Israel. He thought he could be washed in them and be cleansed. He was angry and ready to go back.
But his servants went to him and reasoned with him. They reminded him that he would have definitely done what the prophet commanded had it been a great thing. So they asked him to do this command thinking likewise. So Naaman went to the Jordan, dipped himself seven times in it and his flesh was restored. It became clean like that of a young boy.
He returned to Elisha. He told Elisha that now he realized that there was no God in all the world except in Israel. He urged Elisha to accept a gift which he refused. Then he asked for as much earth as a pair of mules could carry. He wanted this to make burnt offerings and sacrifices to the Lord.
He said that he would never again offers sacrifices to any other god. He also made a request that God would forgive him for bowing down at the temple of Rimmon when he would have to do it along with his master who would be leaning on his arm. Elisha asked him to go in peace.
We find here a similar pattern emerge: We find a valiant soldier who had leprosy. Now this young captive girl from Israel came to know of her master’s illness. She immediately told her mistress about the solution. By this we understand that she was concerned about her master’s illness.
Her counsel was what made Naaman proceed with the idea. The girl’s timely counsel brought healing to Naaman. But more than the healing we find that Naaman goes back home after having come to know God, the Lord of Israel. So we find here the pattern of Unknown Person » Concern » Counsel » Salvation.
Being unknown does not close doors of opportunity of service in God’s kingdom. But the sad fact is that many do not realize it. In the incidents above we find two people who are unknown. Even their names are not mentioned.
Yet when they showed genuine concern they were able to give timely and wise counsel. This resulted in the salvation of those concerned.
We may not be known by the outside world. We may be in positions of lowly service in the eyes of the world. But these things need not prevent our usefulness in God’s kingdom.
The question is whether you have concern for others enough to tell them of your experience of the goodness of God. If yes, you can give counsel to others based on your experience of God.
The servant tells Abigail that David and his men were like a wall around them. It was the experience of this goodness that led him to give that wise counsel. The young captive girl might have known about the miracles that Elisha had done. She might have known that the hand of God was upon this man.
This knowledge of the power of God at work in and through the life of Elisha led her to give counsel to her mistress. Such counsel is born out of the experience of God’s goodness.
And finally look at the result of this concern and counsel. What if you are unknown? Your timely counsel can bring salvation to people. But to do that you need to have concern for people.
More importantly you need to have experienced God’s goodness yourself. And always remember that those unknown persons who bring about God’s salvation on earth are known in heaven.