The Courage To Be Nobody

I want to be a hero. I want to be the guy in line at the bank that takes out a gang of robbers with my bare hands. I want to come to the rescue of a helpless child who is being chased down by a creepy looking dude in a creepy looking van.

It’s not just that I have this desire to help people. I could go out and help someone right now and not be considered a hero. I just want the acknowledgements that come with being courageous.

“Tonight at six, we’ll have the full story on that local pastor who stopped four heavily armed men from blowing up a playground using nothing but his fists. And his Bible.”

There’s nothing brave about this desire that I have. It’s pretty much just pride.

But it doesn’t stop with beating up the bad guys. I also want to be the guy remembered for starting a movement. The voice of a generation. The guy that was more influential and missional than anyone else.

Again, this doesn’t come from a desire to raise up disciples. I would just really like to have a seminary named after me. I’d even settle for an elementary school.

I’m sure that it takes a lot of courage to look death in the eye, without flinching, and save the life of another human being. The courage to be a hero.

And I’m sure that there’s a fair amount of courage involved in starting a movement. The courage to lead.

Even though most of us will not do either of those things, we still need courage. The courage to be nobody.

A nobody loves his wife like Jesus loves the church, when no one else is looking. He resists the temptation to take the easy way out by finding some loophole to his commitment.

A nobody takes an active role in the education of her children, knowing that there will be no Educator of the Year award waiting for her at the end of the school year. She refuses to pass her responsibility off on her church, the school or the government.

A nobody preaches from the book of Leviticus, even though he knows that he may have a few people fall asleep just at the mention of the book. He doesn’t seek the approval of man by preaching a guaranteed home run sermon from a familiar text every single week and he’s not concerned with impressing his seminary professors. He just wants his people to know and believe the Bible. All of it.

A nobody visits the sick and the recently widowed and she’s perfectly okay with her kindness going unmentioned on the evening news. Or even by her friends. She doesn’t feel the need to let everyone know how humble and missional she is.

A nobody gets up in the middle of the night to take care of his screaming kid so that his wife can have a little extra sleep. He knows that he may never be the voice of a generation or have some kind of global impact. But he is determined to have an impact in his home.

A nobody is perfectly content with living a quiet life and doing his best to take care of the responsibilities that he has been given (1 Thessalonians 4:11). He does this because he knows that there is something better than being famous, appreciated, heroic or the voice of a generation. He looks beyond the approval of man to the approval of his Father (Matthew 6:1-24).

What if the movie based on your life was completely boring? What if, by the world’s standards, you died as a failure? No epic accomplishments. No throngs of followers. No thriving movement. No heroic stories.

Just another person that lived by the Bible, loved Jesus and was content with him being the Somebody on your behalf.

Just another person with the courage to be nobody.