There’s an old preacher “axiom” that says the best preacher in the world is probably somebody you’ve never heard of, somebody who is faithfully and joyfully serving a congregation that you probably have never heard of, somebody who skillfully applies the Word of God to the various seasons of life as the preacher walks with the congregation through those seasons of life.
This “story” is a reminder that the role of the preacher is to model Christ to a community of faith while living with that community of faith – even if the wider world never notices.
I was reminded of this the other day as I listened to a friend of mine talk about a mutual acquaintance of ours who is the preacher of a Church of Christ congregation of about 200 in Oklahoma. In addition to his duties there, he also runs a ministry for people who are dealing with chronic pain.
That’s because this preacher has a condition that fills his life with pain every single day.
But you would never know it.
He never complains.
He doesn’t see himself as a victim of anything.
And he hasn’t made his pain his main source of identity.
Instead, he sees how his pain has made him more compassionate towards others and filled him with great empathy for those who carry pain around in its various forms.
So, he started a ministry to help sufferers find hope and to open their eyes to the joys of living – even when that living comes with a chronic pain-point.
Now, here’s the thing…
You’ve probably never heard of this preacher.
He’s not famous.
He doesn’t get invited to speak on the “big” stages.
He’s not a best-selling author.
He’s just a local preacher…faithfully serving his congregation, his community, and those who are hurting.
While our culture has enamored itself with “celebrity pastors,” this man puts his head down and goes to work everyday pastoring the people God puts in his path.
So, who’s the best preacher in the world?
Open your eyes to the extraordinary work that God is doing through ordinary people – because it’s happening all around you.
And when you see it, thank God for the people who faithfully serve in the Kingdom of God, even in obscurity.
By the way, when you see it, also thank the servant – because, while he or she isn’t doing it for the accolades, it’s still nice to know that somebody appreciates it.