1 Kings 13.1: And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.
A most fascinating aspect of the beginning of this story written to us in the First Book of the Kings, is the fact that we are here introduced to a man who is not known by name. In a world where everybody wants to be known or to have a lasting legacy, this is a most unique situation that bears light upon what we ought to strive and seek.
It can be assumed by this statement “a man of God” that he, in fact, was a man of God. This is to mean, though no mention of his upbringing or career was mentioned, that he was not an idle man, but a man fulfilling his daily duties for God and having his desire always toward God. Too many times today, we use the old saying: “I’m just waiting on God to tell me what to do.” It seems everyone is idly waiting on God. By doing such, we are implying that we only want to do the ‘big things’ that get noticed. We want to be Peter rather than Bartholomew. In other words, we want to be known and be talked about instead of being unknown and obscure. Is this the right way to think of such things? I believe that we are missing out on the commands of Christ because of our own longing of the praise of men. We tend to strive after our own legacy (or the legacy of others) that we forget that it isn’t about us (or them) at all, but about the words that God speaks through the people with whom He chooses.
Where can we find such men as this? They are in obscurity, and yet performing the commands of Christ in day-to-day life, at home, at work, in society amongst men. Waiting. Watching. Praying. Seeking. They are the Watchmen. They never do anything out of their own intentions or strength, even though the knowledge they have been given could be used for great gain. They don’t ‘go’ without being sent “by the word of the LORD.” Those who encounter them, ask “What manner of man is this?” They are as an arrow drawn back on the string of a bow, not forcing their release but waiting for that great Archer to send them forth into the air, cutting through the spiritual battle that is unseen which is their desire, always aiming for that final target. Their left hand never knows what the right is doing. They pick up the homeless. They feed the poor. They help the widow. They keep the fatherless. And yet, with all of this, no one notices. Except One. And their reward shall be great in heaven.
I have come to love this term: a man of God. There is nothing giving the man any glory, other than that he is ‘of God.’ I hope that when my time comes, I will have done with faithful patience and endurance all that God has commanded me to do (big or small, noticed or unnoticed), that on my headstone can read no dates or names, but the simple epitaph: A Man of God.