But, for most people, it doesn't happen.
That's when I think of Joseph. Unsung, largely unknown Joseph. Oh, we hear his name all right, but hardly ever for anything he did himself. He had an average job in an average town. The only reason we know him at all is because he had a famous wife--Mary--and an even more famous son--Jesus. That's it. We don't even know what happened to him after the incident in the temple when Jesus was 12. He just disappeared.
And now the same thing is happening to me. I've gotten old enough now to know that I will probably never be famous. I am in the process of becoming, like Joseph, an afterthought.
Still, I have been called by God. I have. I know this because He has been gracious enough to hear my answer.
But called to what? Former Duke University professor and author Reynolds Price once said that "Few are called to anything grander than dinner." and I used to laugh at that thought. I'm not laughing anymore.
I used to look at famous people, the ones who are remembered not for sports or entertainment achievements, but things that really matter, and knew that if they could accomplish so much, so could I. But it didn't happen. I didn't end up doing anything great. I never even got my 15 minutes. What am I supposed to think about this?
I think I'm supposed to remember Joseph. I think I'm supposed to put God's teaching into perspective. I think that, when we pray "thy will be done", we need to mean it no matter what. There is no promise that our obedience will be noticed. When Christ said that:
The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve" --Matthew 20:28
He did not say we would get any praise for our service. In fact, He warned us of exactly the opposite.
If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first...John 15:18
In other words, don't expect any recognition, at least not the pleasant kind.
Most of us will serve in anonymity, with little reward, and no one will notice.
But this is how it should be.
My first job, after all, is to love God and glorify Him, not to see myself glorified. And, if He calls me to nothing grander than dinner, well then, dinner it is.
Those He predestined, He also called and these He called, He also justifed, and those He justified, He also glorified.--Romans 8:30
Did you notice that God does all this? God does it, not history, not the world, not even the church. God. We show up, we obey, and He does all the rest. Him. Only Him.
So, what does that leave me?
To believe, to love, to follow. In the end, I have no idea what legacy I will leave, but only whether God will say:
Well done, good and faithful servant.--Matthew 25:23
Servant. And one who has done well not because everybody knows my name, but because He has written it in the palm of His hand.