I work at a large medical center, and during the COVID pandemic, like most other employers, our organization knew it was important to make sure our employees continued to feel connected even while working remotely and socially distancing. In response, several months ago, they rolled out an initiative called “Spotlight On…”
Once a month, they would feature an employee in a digital newsletter sent out across the organization. The feature shared pictures and tidbits about the employee’s role at work as well as his/her life outside of work. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these little glimpses into the lives of my fellow colleagues. Working in an organization with over 15, 000 employees, it was an opportunity to “meet”folks that I would never have even known about otherwise.
These articles also drove home the fact that it takes A LOT of people to keep our place running! There are teams within teams, people at the forefront, and people behind the scenes, all playing some role in accomplishing our goals and mission as a healthcare organization. Something else remarkable that I noticed through these Spotlight articles was that a lot of really great people, doing fantastic work, are completely content to be behind the scenes, out of the spotlight, ironically!
Several weeks ago, I saw this theme again from a Biblical perspective. I had the privilege of substituting for one of our high school Sunday School classes, and the lesson that day was about the “lesser-known apostles.” We all know Peter, John, Doubting Thomas, and even Judas Iscariot, but what about the others? Did they do anything meaningful even though they were often out of the spotlight? The answer is a resounding “Yes”!
Andrew was one of the examples of a lesser-known apostle, and his story stuck with me. What do we know about Andrew? Andrew was a follower of John the Baptist and, out of the 12 apostles, he was one of the first to hear about and follow Jesus. In the story of the miraculous feeding of the 5000, he helped find the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes (John 6). In John 12, we read that Philip sought him out and enlisted his help in introducing some foreigners to Jesus. These are all clues that he was probably a quiet leader among the twelve.
Andrew is actually only mentioned by name a few times in the Bible, often in the background during important events. In fact, he’s usually referred to as “Simon Peter’s brother”, overshadowed by his more famous and outspoken brother. Unlike Andrew, we all know that Peter was in the spotlight a lot throughout Christ’s ministry on Earth and afterwards in establishing the Church. But as significant as Peter’s legacy was, none of it would have happened without one important person and one small act.
Guess who introduced Peter to Christ in the first place? His brother, Andrew! In Matthew 16, we see Peter making his bold statement that Jesus is the Messiah, but it was his brother, Andrew, who had brought him to the Messiah.
"Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). (John 1:41-42 NLT)
Maybe, like Andrew, some of us are not cut out for or even called to be in the spotlight during our time here on Earth. But that doesn’t mean that what we do is any less important to God. We can still make a tremendous impact on those around us. Sometimes the unseen and unacknowledged actions that we do will have ripple effects that reach farther than we can ever imagine.
So where hasGod placed you? Are you in the spotlight? If so, then thank God and humbly use your platform and visibility to do big things. Bless others and bring glory to God. But if not, then don’t let that discourage you. Thank God for the peace and quiet of relative obscurity and continue steadfastly to serve Him. As Paul reminds us, “whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17).
Look around. How can you can share God’s love with others? You may not be in the spotlight, but, as a child of God, there is an inner light inside of you, and you can let it shine so others can see God in you. You may never know the impact your little light may have.