Do you know who Baal-Hanan the Gederite is? What about Zabdi the Shiphmite or Ezri son of Kelub? How about Obil the Ishmaelite? Shaphat son of Adlai? Do any of those names ring a bell? My guess would be no. So let’s try again. Do you know who King David is? Queen Esther? Moses? The apostle Paul? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume you know each of those people and can recite an account or two from their lives. Even young children learn about baby Moses in a basket or David and Goliath. But let’s face it—no one teaches Sunday school lessons about Shaphat son of Adlai. No one even knows who he is. But every individual listed above is mentioned in the Bible, even the “no-namers.” And that’s a good thing. Because in the grand scheme of life, I’m a no-namer, and chances are, so are you.
If we were to do a modern-day listing like the one above, what would it look like? Do you know who Brad Pitt is? How about Michelle Obama? Michael Phelps? Names like that are household names. Nearly everyone in America knows them. But what about, say, Patsy Durkin or Wilfred Bosley? Have you heard of them? What about [your name here]? Would you classify yourself as a celebrity or more of a no-namer?
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that in the history of the world, we’re virtual no-namers. The vast majority of us will never achieve great earthly fame or make the history books for future generations to learn about us. Sure, we have influence in our own circles, and we’re valued by our own families and friends, but beyond that? Not so much.
Lest you get discouraged, let’s take a closer look at the Bible no-namers I mentioned earlier. 1 Chronicles has lists and lists of people whose names I will never remember. But the writers were inspired by God to include their names nonetheless. 1 Chronicles 27:25-34 gives a whole slate of people who served as King David’s overseers. Baal-Hanan the Gederite was in charge of the olive and sycamore-fig trees in the western foothills. Zabdi the Shiphmite had charge of the produce of the vineyards for the wine vats, while Ezri son of Kelub was responsible for the field workers who farmed the land. Obil the Ishmaelite was in charge of the camels, and Shaphat son of Adlai was the overseer for the herds in the valleys. Are any of these duties particularly glamorous or heroic? Honestly, no. These are farmers and herdsmen who faithfully went about their callings, and God saw fit to record them in Scripture, merely for performing their duties faithfully.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like there’s anything particularly glamorous about doing the laundry or changing diapers, two of the many tasks I perform on a daily basis. The life of a homemaker rarely makes headlines. And perhaps you find yourself feeling like you aren’t making much of a difference as you live your daily life. Maybe you feel that people take you for granted as you go about your mundane tasks. Whether you’re a mother or a mechanic, a teacher, volunteer, rancher, bagger at Walmart, or are in retirement, I have good news for you. Even if you feel like no one else notices your service, God notices. He knows each of His children by name and equips them to carry out their duties, whatever those may be. The Bible characters I just mentioned who served King David may not have been household names like David, but David needed their service to keep his palace and household running smoothly. And whether King David knew them by name or not, God knew each of them and recorded those no-namers so they would be listed in the Bible for all future generations to see.
As I clear the table and load the dishwasher today, I know I won’t be recorded in the history annals or make the homepage of Yahoo. But that’s okay. I’m not a no-namer to God, and neither are you. He has included my name in a far more important list—He has written me into His book of life. I’ll take that over the daily headlines any day.
September 26, 2016 at 9:14 am
From one no-namer to another, you’re a heroine in my book! 🙂
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September 26, 2016 at 10:40 am
I just finished plowing through 1-2 Chronicles as part of my daily devotion, and I still couldn’t recall Baal-Hanan the Gederite, Zabdi the Shiphmite, Ezri son of Kelub, Obil the Ishmaelite, and Shaphat son of Adlai. I thank the Lord daily that He has “called me by name” and that “I am His” (cf. Isaiah 43:1-2).
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