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“Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions–if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.  And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7-17). 

Recently a couple of advertisements for Christian programs found their way into my e-mail box. These programs are well marketed. They cast big names with much secular success. The speakers are former or current athletes, hyper-successful business folks, entertainers, and authors. Their message is simple: This is what Christianity has done for me. 

On the surface it might seem that these programs are offering a great message, but I’ve come to believe they may be using the wrong messengers. At they very least, they leave out several of the right ones. I don’t mean to condemn the folks who present their testimonies in such venues; in fact, I know virtually nothing about them. They may be genuine Christians that are striking models of what it means to “die to self and live for Jesus” (Galatians 2:20). But my concern is that they seem to be sending a message that secular success and “what Jesus can do for me” are the basis for following Christ. 

True, it does draw a crowd when celebrities proclaim their faith. But why are there so few missionaries and average joes and janes on the lecture tour? I think we are wise to heed Paul’s admonition in First Corinthians 1:19-31: 

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things―and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God―that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 

The early church was filled with “nobodies.” The list we see in Colossians 4:7-17 attests to this. Their names are rarely remembered and their deeds rarely recounted. They may not be easily recognizable but these folks – excluding Demas (see 2 Timothy 4:10)  – were completely reliable (Re-liable. Re means over and over again and Liable means responsible for). These disciples of Jesus were servants not superstars. They were seeking Christ not the spotlight. We must understand that God didn’t use the elite to build His church.  He used average folks. Yet they turned the world upside down for Christ. In doing so they were witnesses to the power of Jesus as they boasted only in Him. Notice that “God chose the foolish things …the weak things…” to bring Himself glory. 

Today He is using those who are in the trenches and are waging real spiritual warfare. Let us learn from those whose lives exemplify self-renouncement and the rejection of temporary gratification―those who have “given it all away to follow Him” (Matthew 9:21). I want to know the thoughts of those who have found God as their all satisfying treasure―those who have counted all else as loss (Philippians 3:8).  I want to be compelled to project “the first shall be last” (Matthew 20:16) and “the greatest of you will be the least and the servant of all” for His glory (See Mark 9:35). You see, I want to be like the widow giving her only two mites (Mark 12:42). These are they type of “nobodies” and servants that Jesus finds so very useful in His work. 

Understand that nothing is wrong with those that are wise and secularly successful embracing faith in Jesus. In fact, I praise God for it. We must not, however, allow ourselves to believe that God can use only those who have achieved success in the world’s eyes. Jesus came so that all types of folks would help build His kingdom. We need to be reminded that He chose the foolish, weak, lowly, and despised to be His people and to glorify Himself.  We need not be elite when we are empowered by Him. When He is our wisdom and strength He uses people just like you and me.

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