They aren’t the people in the Bible who get quoted all the time.
There are no statues of them and very few babies have been named after them.
There are a couple of people in the Bible who weren’t the superstars but they stick out of the crowd to me and their lives encourage me. Their faithfulness inspires me to continue to grow in my relationship with God.
In the Old Testament, my favorite second lead actor is Caleb. He was Joshua’s sidekick. I’m sure you remember Joshua – he was the one who led the Israelites into the Promised Land and brought down the walls of Jericho. You may not remember Caleb. He was the other faithful spy who went into the Promised Land with Joshua. They were the only two who came back saying that they knew God would keep his promise and give them the land no matter how big and intimidating the people currently living there were.
Caleb wondered the desert with the rest of the Israelites and was the only Israelite other than Joshua who was over 40 years-old when they entered the Promised Land. He shows up later when the land is being divided and given to the different tribes of Israel. Joshua gave Caleb a territory belonging to the Anakites who were giants. Caleb didn’t care how big and intimidating they were. He had no problem clearing the land for his people because he trusted that God would keep his promises. Caleb was not the prominent character in the Bible that Joshua was but he was just as faithful and obedient. I’m inspired by his life.
Now I’m reading about Barnabus in the New Testament. You probably haven’t heard very much about Barnabus. There aren’t any sermons written about him. The first mention of him in the Bible is when he sold a field and gave all the money to the Way – the first name of the early, struggling Christian church.
The next time I read about him, he is standing up in the middle of the controversy about the recently redeemed Saul. Saul was a Christ-follower killer who was now filled with God’s Holy Spirit and his name was changed to Paul. Barnabus was in tune with God and knew God was moving, doing something big with Paul. So Barnabas brought Paul into the group of disciples – a brave thing to do – and vouched for him, helping the others to accept Paul and his ministry.
Later, Barnabus shows up at Antioch where he encourages the Gentiles and ‘a great number of people are brought to the Lord.’ (Acts 11:24) Barnabus became Paul’s wingman during Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. You’ve heard a lot about Paul, haven’t you?
But we don’t hear a lot about Barnabus. He was faithfully following God and significantly helping to grow the church, most of the time in Paul’s shadow.
Since God has not given me a ministry up on a stage or in front of a camera, I am drawn to these people in the Bible who followed God faithfully and sacrificially, supporting the superstars and ministering in their shadows.
Are you like me? There a lot of us. Regular people, loving God with all our hearts and obediently serving God with whatever he has called us to do. We are not the Christ-followers in the spotlight that everyone hears about.
But we are faithful – like Caleb and Barnabus were faithful. Their examples encourage me and I know they have already heard “Well done, good and faithful servant” from our Father God.