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From Obscurity to the Spotlight

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 - 9:56 AM CST

By Rosemarie Kowalski

Philip is best known in the Bible as the evangelist to the Ethiopian eunuch. He mysteriously appears on the road where a stranger is reading Scripture. Just as miraculously, when his teaching is completed, Philip is physically transported to resume telling others about Jesus.

He first appears as a server in the church. He was a volunteer who helped with organizational duties so the “preachers” could do their work. Those “in front” of the crowd knew that he was wise and full of the Spirit, while at the same time, he could get things done. His preaching, evangelistic gifts, and knack for crossing cultures seem to emerge when the Church is scattered by persecution. We don’t know if the Jerusalem church recognized a broader set of abilities as they watched his humble willingness in behind-the-scenes administration.

Sometimes people catapult to fame, coming into the limelight from the starting gate. Others, like Philip, are faithfully obedient and emerge into leadership positions that surprise them and delight bystanders. Look around the room after a meeting: these are the leaders who pick up their coffee cups and toss their garbage, understanding that it takes a minute to make less work for others. They seamlessly flow between thoughtful service and up-front attention.

“I never thought I’d be doing anything like this!” said a friend who runs a successful company. “I didn’t know I had it in me.” But she’s tried all kinds of things. Put her hand to the plow wherever there was an opportunity. She’s definitely been prepared for this place, at this time.

What is God doing in us that seems small and unimportant? Can He trust us to hold the rope while others swing, to give a boost to the self-conscious, and to wait at the back of the line for our turn? Let’s watch for chances to please Him in obscurity or anonymity in our pastoral ministry today.


Rosemarie Kowalski is an Assemblies of God ordained minister and director for alumni and parent services at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is also missions pastor at The Chapel, Cedar Park in Bothell.


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