Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
There is a long history of faithful people going into unreached regions to share the hope of the gospel. Hudson Taylor, John Eliot, and David Livingston to name a few. The world has known many who have faithfully served where no one else would. The ways people have served in God’s Kingdom is as different as the work of a hand or foot. Each having a vital role in service, each working together to serve the body of Christ.
Matthew 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?
From the beginning of the church, Jesus found people who could carry out His commission. From the disciples who learned under the Messiah came the apostles who went forth and spread the good news. The very title of apostle is from the greek word apostolos, or messenger.
The disciples whom Jesus called became the foundation for a church yet to come:
1) Peter (originally known as Simon and Simon Peter); 2) Andrew (Simon’s brother); 3) James the Elder (the “disciple that Jesus loved”); 4) John (James the Elder’s brother); 5) Philip; 6) Bartholomew; 7) Matthew (or Levi); 8) James the Less (or James the Younger, possibly Jesus’s brother); 9) Thaddeus (or Jude or Judas, brother of James the Less); 10) Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”); 11) Simon Zelotes; and 12)Judas Iscariot.
After the ascension of Christ into Heaven and the Holy Spirit was sent to God’s people, these 12 apostles along with the hundreds who followed Christ during His ministry formed the church and the myriad of people thereafter who faithfully obeyed the call.
The Apostles spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Damascus, Antioch, Asia Minor, Greece, and finally to Rome. Although there is little evidence to back up the assertion, some people believed that James the Elder went to Spain, Thomas went to India, Matthew went to Ethiopia and Bartholomew to Armenia.
Thomas the Apostle went east, through what is now Syria and Iran while historians believe he then continued on down to southern India. He traveled farther than even the indefatigable Paul, whose journeys encompassed much of the Mediterranean.
Of all the Apostles, Thomas represents most profoundly the missionary zeal associated with the rise of Christianity—the drive to travel to the ends of the known world to preach the way of Salvation. Thomas, like the others who spread the gospel became the hands of feet of Christ to the world.
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The commission Jesus made was one that has echoed throughout the history of the church. The gospel has spread far and wide and continues today among His faithful. Those who have gone forth in faithfulness to God’s call have done so in poverty, danger, and great faith. Not knowing where they would get the support or where they might go, the work of the gospel has been supported by many unsung heros.
The Quiet Faithful
During Jesus’ ministry, support was provided in a large part by the women who were transformed through His ministry. Paul had support from the church at Philadelphia and others, while ministers throughout the centuries have had those faithful supporters who stood behind them financially.
Luke 8:1-3 “Soon afterward, Jesus traveled from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, as well as some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s household manager Chuza, Susanna, and many others. These women were ministering to them out of their own means.”
Mary, Joanna, and Susanna were not only supportive but likewise instrumental in helping further the kingdom of God. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both men of stature and wealth, chipped in to help fund Jesus’ ministry as well.
The hands that provide are as vital as the feet that deliver the message.
Joining the lineage of God’s faithful
We are all called to be administers of the gospel. The work of fulfilling the great commission takes all of the church, working together in unity to further the hope we have all come to know. Whether you are the one who treks across China like Hudson Taylor or one of the many faithful who never had their names recorded in history—the hand and the foot both remain essential.
What role has the Lord called you to serve in? Have you been faithful in whatever measure He has asked you to give?
Jesus didn’t have to concern Himself with raising funds, finding food to eat on a continual basis or paying for traveling expenses. Jesus had those around Him who supported His work, doing the small aspects of ministry that are essential to every work of God.
The reward for these silent faithful will be as great as those in prominence.
Colossians 1:9-10 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, “
God’s expectation for His people is to simply be obedient to His call. He doesn’t ask us to do anything more than He has equipped us for. Each place in the Kingdom of God has significance. Each role in His Kingdom is as vital as the next.
Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’“
You see, God’s blessings are not reserved for those the world considers great, God looks upon the humble, the obedient, the loving, the pure, and those who exemplify Christ.
Whatever your abilities, background, or scope of influence, do it all for the glory of God and you will be blessed—then you will know you had a vital part in furthering a Kingdom that will never end.