Some of God's people are called to public ministry. In His providence, that's my calling. As we approach the end of another academic year at the seminary and my fourth year as its president (How can it be?), I have been feeling that responsibility lately. I'm spending a lot of time in front of people.
It just comes with the job. Traveling or Zooming to make RPTS presentations to groups and churches. Preaching, teaching, and speaking. Sending letters on behalf of the seminary. Having pictures taken for advertising purposes. (I keep telling them they need a better-looking president with more hair.) Writing articles for publication. Meetings with donors. Being videoed as I teach.
I could write about the dangers and temptations of being in the public eye. Maybe another time. Yet this post is not about those who have a calling to be up in front. Rather, it's about the many who serve behind the scenes.
At the seminary, we have such an incredible staff. People who joyfully serve our students, faculty, and anyone who walks through our doors or calls on the phone. Rarely are they in the public eye, but each of their contributions is just as valuable as if they were. I could not do a fraction of my work without their assistance and sometimes even their correction.
I see this behind-the-curtain service in another significant way. It comes from the covenant companion the Lord has given me. Though Miriam eschews the limelight, she sure shines brightly in this regard. While I'm traipsing around upfront, she quietly serves to keep our world in order. Making sure I'm dressed for the public eye. Praying for me always. Caring for needs at home. Communicating and loving on our children and grandchildren. Listening to friends in need. Making yet another meal to host people. All done with no fanfare. No cameras. No applause.
Sometimes those who labor silently and virtually unseen can start to think that their service is much less important than that done in a public way. But that's not what the Bible teaches.
When David and a portion of his men heroically recaptured in battle spoils lost to the Amalekites, those that had publicly fought the battle did not want to divide these spoils with those who had stayed behind to guard their baggage. But as David responded, "For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike” (1 Sam. 30:24). His statement became proverbial in the land. For the next verse reads, "And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day."
I try to remind my wife regularly that we are co-heirs in the gospel of Christ (1 Pet. 3:7). My victories are our victories. Her service is our service. And to all who are quietly reading this post even as you quietly serve the Lord in the church, please know that His gospel spoils are your gospel spoils.