Stop beating yourself up. Jesus never called you to be a celebrity. All he asks of you is your obedience.
People love celebrities and Christians are no exception. We have our own set of authors, singers and pastors who have impacted us and who we may even try to be like. While it’s good to have an example to follow, sometimes our lives can look mundane in comparison to theirs. After all, we’ve never preached to thousands, written a best seller or won a Grammy.
What does it look like to live a life devoted to Jesus when the most radical thing you’ll do today is changing a diaper without getting sprayed? We can find our answer from an unlikely source.
You could make an argument that Paul was the church’s first celebrity. He already had a nasty reputation for being violently opposed to Jesus and the church. He was converted to Jesus and by Jesus in dramatic fashion. He was publicly tortured. He traveled great lengths to share the gospel with others and establish churches. And on top of all of that, he wrote a large portion of the New Testament.
And what did you do today, you loser?
It’s near the end of Paul’s life that we find an example of what it means to be a regular Christian.
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. Acts 28:30-31 (ESV)
Paul was a prisoner at this point. But those two years in chains weren’t wasted years for Paul or the Kingdom of God. They were years marked by obedience.
If you’ve grown up in the church, these verses probably look familiar to you. Perhaps they’ve even been the source of encouragement, strength and spiritual growth.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10 (ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Those are just some of the New Testament letters that Paul wrote while he was a prisoner. The words that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write some two thousand years ago are still helping people today. You won’t be writing any new additions to Scripture during your seemingly mundane life. Well, unless you plan on starting a cult and I wouldn’t recommend that. Still, don’t underestimate the fruit of your obedience. Your life may be boring or it may seem to be on hold but if it is devoted to Jesus, it is not lived in vain. Your so-called boring routine could very well be making an impact on someone else.
The prison chains that Paul wore didn’t stop people from coming to see him. Acts says that Paul welcomed them all. He knew that people don’t just enter our lives by coincidence. You may not preach before thousands but over the course of your life, God brings about that many to you for his purposes. Be intentional about getting to know the people who enter your life. God put them there for a reason.
But it’s more than just being nice to strangers and friends. The people who came to meet Paul heard him, “Proclaiming the kingdom of God” and “Teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.” None of us has influence or connections that Paul had. But we do have the same story that he told. God probably hasn’t put you in a place where you regularly have to explain your views on the end times but my guess is that he regularly puts you in situations where you have the opportunity to speak about Jesus. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a preacher. If all you can say is some version of, “I once was lost but now I’m found,” you can count on somehow being used by God.
And besides, you aren’t on your own in this. Paul obeyed Jesus, “With all boldness and without hindrance,” because of the power of God on him. You have that same power.
I’ve never preached to thousands of people but on more than one occasion I showed up to preach and was the only one there.
I’ll never win a Grammy and you probably won’t either.
Only one thing matters and that’s living a life of joyful obedience to Jesus, whether we live in a war zone or the suburbs. Whether you’re in jail, the suburbs or in the green room of the Tonight Show getting ready to tell Jimmy your testimony, that’s where God wants you to be, for this moment at least. So make the most of it. Do your best to live for his purposes.
No matter where you are.
And no matter how mundane your life may seem.
The best is yet to come.