21 May, 2024

March 31 Application | ‘Hidden Gems’

by | 25 March, 2024 | 0 comments

By David Faust 

An inquisitive fellow e-mailed me some probing Bible questions. Fittingly, the doubter’s name was Thomas. I couldn’t tell whether he was sincere or just wanted to argue.  

Not wanting to engage in an email debate, I wrote back, “Would you like to meet in person to discuss your questions?” He took me up on the offer, and I found him to be a serious believer whose questions were sincere. I enjoyed getting to know him, and he seemed relieved as we discussed how the Bible addresses his concerns. 

“How long have you attended our church?” I asked. 

“About a year and a half,” Thomas answered. 

Surprised, I said, “Why haven’t we met before?” 

“Because I sit in the balcony,” he said. 

Jesus compared his kingdom to a “treasure hidden in a field” (Matthew 13:44). It turns out, there was a treasure hidden in the balcony: a new friend I had previously overlooked. 

Under the Radar 

Are there any hidden gems in your corner of God’s kingdom? Any unheralded servants who quietly build up the body of Christ? Do you know volunteers who teach kids, rock babies in the nursery, lead small groups, operate sound systems, mow lawns, welcome guests, cook meals, set up chairs, visit shut-ins, and pray for the sick?  

Do you know elders who faithfully shepherd God’s flock? Or missionaries who serve so far under the radar that their whereabouts cannot be publicly disclosed for security reasons? What about Christian counselors who quietly strengthen their clients’ emotional and spiritual health, and recovery group leaders who assist those struggling with hang-ups, hurts, and addictions?  

Do you know of nurses, doctors, and EMTs who partner with the Great Physician to care for the ill and the injured? What about teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and administrators who care for their students day after day? What about the faithful professors and staff members who labor without fanfare in Christian colleges?  

Vibrant Ministries in Various Places 

When was the last time you thanked the Lord for Christian service camps and those who serve in them? From New York to Oregon, from Tennessee to California, I have visited beautiful camp sites where kids and adults learn God’s Word, enjoy God’s creation, and hear God’s call to salvation, ministry, and missionary service.  

Hidden gems can be found among rural churches like Pricetown Church of Christ in southern Ohio. Established prior to the Civil War (in 1856), the congregation continues to thrive and serve, and it has had far-reaching kingdom impact over the years, supporting global missions and sending several “Timothies” into ministry. (That is where I was baptized and my young faith was nurtured when I was a boy.)   

And what about urban ministries like Reunion Church in New York City? Church planter Russel Rader and his wife, Katie, saw the COVID-19 pandemic delay their congregation’s start-up, but now they lead a dynamic group of believers who meet in a rented Manhattan dance studio on Sunday mornings. Urban areas are tough mission fields, but gems like Reunion Church sparkle in cities all over the world.  

Do you know someone who brings light to dark places without grabbing the limelight? Have you discovered that “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Corinthians 12:18)—including those who sit quietly in the balcony? 

Personal Challenge: Think of someone you consider a “hidden gem” who serves the Lord faithfully without a lot of recognition and fanfare. This week, send them a note of appreciation and encouragement. 

_ _ _

David Faust’s new book, Not Too Old: Turning Your Later Years into Greater Years, is available for preorder from College Press.

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