don't despise small beginnings, hidden on purpose, isolated, multi-million dollar "brands", raised to greatness and honor, rejected, season of hiding, self-indulgent "celebrity" pastors, unimportant, unnoticed, unused
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.) ~ Zechariah 4:10, NLT
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. ~ James 4:10, NLT
Are you an unknown and an unsupported called by God evangelist, preacher, Word of God teacher, and etcetera? Are you a called by God evangelist, preacher, Word of God teacher, and so on, whose family and friends do not even consider you “important” enough and/or spiritually wise or spiritually knowledgeable enough for them to have your back—for them to be in your corner emotionally, spiritually, financially, and so forth?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, then count yourself blessed to be someone God deems worthy enough for Him to hide away from the current growing foolishness shown by those Christians who zealously support ONLY the rich and famous “celebrity” pastors or other renowned spiritual leaders, whom these foolish and zealous Christians obviously like more than they like you. Whether or not these foolish and zealous Christians see the rich and famous “celebrity” pastors or other renowned spiritual leaders as being more sociable, easygoing, enjoyable, and/or more likable than you, the naked truth is that these thoughtless and ardent Christians’ penchant for picking and choosing the called by God men and women they prefer to acknowledge and support ALWAYS is the result of their negative impulse, which is opposed to the result of their discipleship’s spiritual discernment. Frankly, they acknowledge and support the rich and famous “celebrity” pastors or other “church” leaders because they erroneously choose to believe that these individuals are spiritually wiser and spiritually more knowledgeable than you.
While we are not called to be famous Christians, God does expect us to be incomparable doers of what He has called us to do. Despite that, the plain truth is that God also never promises us that we always would know why, after He calls us to minister to others, He allows us to face certain situations and circumstances, like having a burning desire to share the Gospel of Jesus the Christ with the whole world, having a desire to make disciples of newly saved believers, and having a desire to encourage and edify weak and/or drifting away from the Divine Truth believers, but every door and every window has been shut in our face. The shut doors and windows are evident when everyone ignores us, and when those people who notice us don’t show us that they really care about what we have to say or have to offer.
Thus, while being sociable, easygoing, enjoyable, or even likable are admirable qualities, these qualities do not mean that God sanctions any of today’s rich and famous “celebrity” pastors or other renowned spiritual leaders who use their ministerial credentials for self-indulgence rather than for improving their communities’ spiritual poverty. As a result, their ungodly goals and their ungodly behaviors (e.g., building multimillion dollar “brands” [churches or ministries] for the sole purpose of profiting from “selling” spirituality, instead of truly building communities of disciples who are witnesses for Jesus the Christ) are actually the very ammunition individuals can use when they are portraying Christianity as being an evil and threatening religion.
Nevertheless, the primary point about being hidden is that, in spite of feeling rejected, inadequate, isolated, lonely, unused in the Kingdom, and frustrated about being treated as if you are unimportant and therefore invisible, God is drawing you closer to Him. He, thus, hides you so that He can prepare you for a much greater ministry than you could ever imagine.
Case in point, there is nothing in the Old Testament Scriptures that proves that the Prophet Elijah held any high office, came from a wealthy, powerful, or famous family, was extraordinarily spiritual, or that he was sociable, easygoing, enjoyable, or even likable before or after God chose him to tell the evil King Ahab that there would not be any dew or rain for the next few years. After the Prophet Elijah boldly delivers this message, which God sent him to communicate to King Ahab, God then hides His chosen, called, anointed, and appointed prophet in the Kerith Ravine (cf. 1 Kings 17:1-6). Furthermore, while the Prophet Elijah is in his God-designed season of hiding, he learns that his God is faithful to supply all of his needs—the supernatural power, provisions, and protection that the Prophet Elijah needs so that he is prepared to do the greater work that God later sends him to do in Zarephath and on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 17:8-24; 18:16-39, 42b-46).
Indeed, the Holy Bible is replete with examples of men and women whose true character and calling are hidden on purpose, either because they are in prison (e.g., Joseph), or in the desert (e.g., Moses), or in the King’s palace (e.g., Esther, whose name means “hidden”), or in one’s hometown (e.g., Paul’s second “silent years,” which he spent in Tarsus). These and other biblical men and women not only are hidden by God’s design but also hidden so that God can draw them closer to Him for the purpose of preparing them to do a greater service for Him. Put differently, when God hides you, you will be out of the world’s reach but not out of God’s sight.
It is evident, then, that when God hides you He still expects your excellence to show through everything that you do while you are in hiding. Moreover, He still expects you to be content with being where you are, even more so during your season(s) of hiding, for this attitude of contentment not only could accelerate God’s process by which He makes you fit for His service but also could strengthen your determination to get the most out of your time of rest and refreshing.
Finally, while being hidden is not something that many, if any, believers happily seek, because of God’s supernatural Grace, being hidden is His proven way of drawing us closer to Him. In other words, according to Oswald Chambers, it takes the supernatural Grace of God to live contently while enduring rejection, invisibleness, isolation, loneliness, and so forth. Mr. Chambers says:
Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. …[I]t does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes. ~ from “Impulsiveness or Discipleship?” October 21, 2011 My Utmost for His Highest
Learning how to be faithful and holy while we are in hiding can be a costly lesson, in more ways than one; nevertheless, we who are called of God must go through our own time of hiding—the time when we not only learn that God is faithful to supply ALL of our needs but also the time when we learn what it means to be pruned and shaped into our calling and character. Unfortunately, sometimes this time of hiding is difficult for us to understand why we are experiencing what is happening to us. Sometimes, too, this time of hiding takes longer than we are comfortable with enduring. In either case, the best thing for us to do during our season(s) of hiding is to let God do what He wants to do with us.
Additionally, we must realize that, when the time is right, by His Grace, Faithfulness, and Generosity, God will raise us up to the levels of our own Divine purpose and greatness that from eternity He has put in us. It also is important for us to know that He will lift us up in honor only after we have humbled ourselves before Him and have become content with either the discomfort or the pleasure we feel while we are in our hiding places—contentment that would be evident when we begin to press more and more in to God instead of withdrawing from Him. Indeed, at the moment we truly apprehend that it is by God’s supernatural Grace that we are able to endure ALL situations and circumstances, in our hearts, we no longer will despise our small beginnings.