Just A Nobody

4-14-24

 

            We're going to start out this morning with a little quiz to get things going.  You don't have to answer out loud.  Some of you will know the answers to these questions and others may not.  Do you know these people?  Who decorates the bulletin boards in the church?  Who cleans the church?  Who takes care of the Sunday School records?  Who cooks on Wednesday night for the kids?  Who teaches the Wednesday night kids?  Who helps her?  Who picks out the music for Sunday morning?  Who is currently leading our Wednesday night prayer meeting?

            I'm going to now disappoint probably just about all of you and not give you the answers to those questions.  That's exactly the point that we're trying to make this morning with today's message.  There are some people in church circles, either locally or nationally, who are well known and recognizable.  But there are a lot more people who work behind the scenes.  Very few people know them or know what they do for the kingdom.  In many ways, they are nobodies.  They do what they do because they love the Lord.  They're not looking for recognition and don't want it.  That's why they're going to remain relatively anonymous today.

            It's like many other areas of life.  Take movies for example.  It's the stars who have the famous name and make the most money.  But what could an actor do and who would they be, if it weren't for the people behind the scenes making it all happen.  Pilots fly the planes but it's the lesser known and less glamorous mechanics who make sure that plane can fly.  Doctors and surgeons get the big bucks and rightfully so, but what could they do without capable and gifted nurses and others helping them in the operating room?

            This morning, we're going to start looking at some nobodies in Scripture.  Over the course of this series, some of the names we are going to look at are well known, but maybe their story isn't too familiar.  Other names are not known at all.  We use the term nobody loosely.  Even though someone may not have a famous name, they are still vital to the functioning of God's kingdom.  We couldn't do church here without all of the people who do all of the things that they do.  Some things seem small and insignificant, but there are no small or insignificant jobs in God's Kingdom.  Everyone and everything they do is vital to accomplishing all that God is working to accomplish. 

            This morning, we're going to look at a passage of Scripture that doesn't get a lot of attention in most churches.  I know that I have never preached on it before.  In fact, it's one of those passages that we kind of skip over when we're reading through the Bible.  This is a passage that mentions some supposed nobodies.  When Hollywood wants to make an epic Bible drama, this is not the passage they go to; these are not the characters that highlight their movie.  But the truth of the matter is, these men aren't nobodies, they are somebody's.

            But before we actually get to their story, we need a little background.  King David started out as a young shepherd boy taking care of his father's flocks.  But he rose to prominence after defeating Goliath.  God had him anointed as the second king of Israel, following Saul.  But after he was anointed as the next king, it was over a decade before he actually took the throne.  In the meantime, Saul became extremely jealous of David and spent most of the remainder of his reign seeking to kill him.  But God protected David and kept him safe until he could take over running the nation.   

            When Saul died, David was able to finally become king.  He took the throne when he was 30 and reigned until he died at the age of 70.  Near the end of his life, historians gathered around him to record the most important facts and to preserve the details that marked his career.  But instead of regaling them with war stories or retelling his many acts of heroism, David recalled the names of the people he considered to be the true heroes in his rise to power and prominence.  Let's read 2 Samuel 23:8-12.

            This is actually a pretty interesting passage that mentions some pretty amazing acts of heroism.  We're going to go with the easier name to pronounce regarding that first guy.  Adino the Eznite.  Anyone ever heard of him before?  We should have.  He is credited with killing 800 men at one time.  That would be a tough job if you were using a machine gun.  This guy managed to do it using a sword.  If he killed one man every minute, he would have engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat for more than 13 hours.

            Then there's a guy named Eleazar.  When the rest of the Israelite soldiers were hiding in fear from the enemy, he went out and attacked the Philistines by himself.  He did it for so long that they had to pry his sword out of his hand because it was stuck to his skin.  The last of three mighty men listed here in this passage is a man named Shammah.  He is also one who stood his ground when everyone else fled.  He was able to win a mighty battle alone, with the Lord's help of course.  These three men are listed here partly because they were brave and strong, often in the midst of long odds against them.  But they are also listed here because they were loyal to David.  Let's now read on and see how they showed their love.  2 Samuel 23:13-17. 

            Here's at least one of the reasons why we can consider these men to be nobodies, in the best sense of the word.  They weren't fighting for David in order to gain fame; they didn't want wealth; they weren't looking for some sort of prominent position in the government once David became king.  They served him because they loved him.

            Just look at the extent that they went through just to get David a glass of water.  They were all in their stronghold and it appears that they were between battles with the Philistines.  David apparently just second handily mentions that he sure would like some water from his hometown.  Three of his mighty men then take it upon themselves to go and get it for him.  It wasn't just that they went and got him the water.  They had to break through the Philistines camp, which would involve breaking through the Philistine warriors, to get David that water.  After they come back with it, David is so humbled by what they did, by their selfless devotion to him that he couldn't even enjoy the gift.  These men were devoted to one another in a God-ordained cause regarding David becoming the next king.

            There were other brave, courageous men who fought with and for David.  2 Sam. 23:18-22.  The first one listed in this passage is Abishai.  He was a leading military commander for David's army.  His brother Joab would later become David's military commander during his time as king.  But Joab isn't mentioned here other than being Abishai's brother.  But Abishai is listed because he killed 300 enemy soldiers with a spear.

            But then we're told of someone else who did even more than that.  Benaiah is said to have killed a couple of men and then a lion.  But that's really not what stands out about him.  He also fought a very tall Egyptian man who carried a spear.  All that Benaiah had was not much more than a stick, definitely not a weapon of any sort.  But he was still able to snatch the spear from this man and then killed him with his own spear.

            What David is doing here was honoring the forgotten heroes who made his kingdom possible.  A kingdom must have a good, strong king if it's going to make any positive difference and if it's going to last.  But David also knew that good strong kings cannot effectively lead without capable, loyal people around them.

            Success in the kingdom of God and in any local church, depends upon the faithful people of whom the general public is most likely completely unaware.  That's because the church doesn't gather to glorify men.  The church gathers to glorify Christ.  He is the only real Somebody.  Jesus is the only perfect Somebody who died for nobodies like you and me. 

            Casting Crowns has a song called "Nobody" that kind of highlights this whole idea.  The chorus goes like this:  "Cause I'm just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul.  I'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus."  Then later on in the song it goes, "So when I hear the devil start talking to me saying 'who do you think you are' I say, I'm just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul."

            In some ways, we are all nobodies.  Yet, because of Christ's sacrifice for our sins, we are all actually somebody.  A person isn't significant because fame or stature or publicity make him or her so.  A person is significant because God says so.  In God's estimation, if you are a true believer, then you are somebody significant.  The question then is, are you going to be what you are?

            There are four basic character traits that we're going to look at now that all people of significance exemplify in their lives.  So if you want your life to count; if you want to get to the end of your life and know that who you were and what you did actually did matter, you first of all need to be selfless.  Phil. 2:3-4. 

            People who make a difference don't care who gets the credit.  They never complain about the role they fill; they are never concerned whether or not people recognize them for what they do.  When they are recognized, they are humble and contrite and try to deflect the attention away from themselves. 

            We just read some passages that describe for us some heroic measures taken by David's mighty men that helped them establish his throne.  We're given very few details and very few actions taken by these men.  But even with that being the case, there is no evidence that any of them complained about anything.  We see no evidence of any of them being a glory-hog.  Each of those men were selflessly devoted to David and to each other in a great cause that they considered to be larger than any one of them.

            Do you have a selfless attitude?  You can kind of test yourself by thinking of whether or not you like to and want to get recognition for the things that you do.  Do you find yourself jealous when others are recognized?  Do you feel envious when others are given positions that you wish you had?  If you're truly selfless none of that matters.  You just want to serve the Lord and do it whether anyone knows or recognizes you or thanks you or not.

            A second character trait of significant people is that they have a sole objective.  Phil. 3:12-14.  People who are used by God to make a difference in the world focus on the right objectives.  They don't waste time pursuing things that don't matter.  We lose any effectiveness we might have when we take our eyes off the objective and major on minor issues.

            As far as we can tell, David's mighty men were focused on doing all that they could to protect David as Saul tried to kill him.  They also focused on preparing him in whatever way they could so he could take over as king when that time came.  They didn't get caught up in the minor things that would have caused disunity; they didn't zero in on anything that would have distracted them from what they knew was most important. 

            The big prize that we need to always keep our eyes on is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ right here in Baxter Springs and the surrounding area.  Is that what your focus is?  Or are you allowing yourself to be distracted by other issues that don't matter.  Too many people are concerned about the style of music, or which translation of the Bible the preacher uses, or who's sitting where or who's wearing what or someone didn't say hi to me.  We always need to seek to be godly and holy and courteous and friendly towards others.  But don't let all of those extra un-important issues get in the way of what really matters.

            Significant people are also seek unity.  Eph. 4:12-13.  People who make a difference nurture harmony with others in order to achieve the greater good.  They are willing and able to set aside petty differences and choose to overlook offenses because they recognize that the enemy isn't our fellow church members; the enemy is outside.

            There may be no greater threat to the success of God's church than disunity.  Attacks from outside the body we can deal with.  We recognize them and are usually able to fend them off.  But when the attacks come from the inside it's harder to detect and much more damaging.  God not only wants His church to be unified, He commands that we be unified.

            Are you an agent of unity in the church?  Do you feel like you're on board with what God is doing here at First Baptist and are you whole heartedly supporting His mission and the work He is doing?  Or are you disgruntled with what's going on.  Because of that, maybe you spend a lot of time griping, whining and complaining about church leadership and others in the church.  If that describes you, you are wrong and you need to repent of that sin.  If you can't be unified here, you need to find some place where you can be on board with what God is doing.

            The last trait that a person of significance has that makes them effective for God's kingdom is joy.  Phil. 4:4.  Significant people express humility and unity when they relate to other people.  Those two traits translate into joy.  Joy is a very attractive quality in a person.  You don't see much joy in the world, so when a believer experiences and expresses joy in their life, they stand out as different in a very good way.

            Do you have joy?  Joy is a choice.  Because of what Christ has done for us, because of God's grace working through us in the person of the Holy Spirit, we all have joy in our hearts.  Joy isn't dependent upon outward circumstances.  It is dependent upon God's working in our lives.  Knowing that we can never lose our salvation and that God will never leave us or forsake us, gives us all the reasons we need to choose joy, even when life is crashing down all around us.  Live with joy.`

            Are you a nobody?  In terms of our roles in God's kingdom and what we do for Him and for others, we all need to seek to be nobodies.  Yet, because of who God is and what He has done and is doing for and through our lives, we are somebody's because we are children of Almighty God and adopted into His family. 

            Live as nobodies seeking no recognition and no glory for yourself.  We can do that because we are somebody in God's eyes and because He has chosen to save us, forgive us and use us to make a difference.

 

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