We all know there are many things worthy of public news announcements that never make it into print and/or broadcast. While the world loves a steamy story of Christians who mock both themselves and Christ with their antics and irrational comments, I've met many, many brothers and sisters as of late who serve Christ that are far more newsworthy, but go unpublished. They are heroes of the world who rarely receive the attaboys they deserve. The conclusion of Hebrews 11, the great chapter on the faith of the heroes, concludes by saying "the world was not worthy of them." Their character, integrity, faith, risk, sacrifice, and devoted service speaks loudly and clearly.
Character traits of newsworthy, but unpublished Christians:
1) They are devoted to change:
Changing the world is a non-negotiable for these servants. I've met many who seek the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven and never give up the vision of a world saturated with Christ and His holiness. They are change-seekers.
2) They risk courageously.
These heroes take incredible risks based on nothing by faith. They believe God has spoken and step into the place of miracle-expectation, before the actual miracle comes. They trust God in the empty spaces and await His power.
3) They are not experts.
Most of these people, if not all, will see incredible accomplishments for the Kingdom, yet say, "we had no idea what we were doing." They move ahead out of the limits of their own understanding to see God do great things.
4) They maintain humility.
All great newsworthy, but unpublished Christians are humble. They quietly move about this earth with no trumpets announcing their entrance. They are powerful and meek. Mighty and unassuming. Extraordinary though ordinary.
5) They work subversively.
These heroes float under the radar. They are wise and gentle, and they get things done. They don't demand that everything be promoted through press releases and grand celebrations. Subversive Christians do more underground good daily than anyone else I know.
6) They grieve the slowness of change.
They cry out, "how long, Lord?" Their hearts walk the delicate balance between joy and sorrow, anticipation and discouragement as they seek to see transformational change come into the world. Their work fits no metric of "return on investment." They just invest and trust God.
7) They pray without ceasing.
They know that apart from Jesus they can do nothing, so they stay constantly connected, knowing that leaving His side disconnects them from everything they need for ministry.
8) They wish for others to "get it."
They secretly wish for others in the world to see what they see, know what they know, envision what they envision, and care for what they care for. They wish that people who didn't believe in God could understand, somehow, that life in Christ isn't the comic-strip image that gets published for the public to mock.
9) They seek not personal fame, but only for the cause of Christ to advance.
They simply want Jesus to be honored for the majestic, holy, glorious, sovereign, Almighty King He truly is. When these dear servants see the name of Jesus slandered, they cry inside.
10) They never stop.
They refuse to stop no matter what. Nothing seems to tire them, though they are often very tired. They keep going. Why? Because they are compelled.
There is much, much more that could be said. They are the driving, powerful force of the Kingdom of God. They have left all to serve Christ. These leaders and servants of Christ in the world cause more positive change and effects than anyone will ever know. People who do not believe in God benefit from their sacrifice and goodness all day, every day, yet do not know the gift they receive in those people from the hand of God they do not acknowledge.
Are you a newsworthy, yet unpublished Christian? If so, may the Lord bless you abundantly for your sacrificial, loving service to Him. If not, ... why not?
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.