HEROES. We always celebrate them. They are the ones at the fore of our vision. They are the ones we aspire to be like, and desire to share in their story. Their roll call is endless: The brave General who led a successful military campaign. The anointed minister who single-handedly brought down revival. The footballer who scored the highest goals and won the greatest awards. The pioneering and inspiring scientist with his myriads of laurels. We always celebrate the best and the first, and so we end up with the desire to be the best and the first. But recently, I began to pray again, that God will raise sons of encouragement- men who are content to serve in the shadow of another man. Let me explain.
Now the movie “THE TRAIN” was about Bro. Mike and Sis. Gloria Bamiloye; but the most touching part of that movie for me (that almost drew me to tears) was the particular event that led to the movie being called “The Train”. Bro. Mike was already into full time ministry (and that was quite understandable since he was the person that God called to spear-head the ministry); however, there were others who were also part of his team who were walking in several sectors of society. I was shocked too, the first time I watched the movie, when he placed the challenge of “the train” to his co-workers. He remarked that anyone who wanted to be part of his (Bro Mike’s) vision must resign his/her job and enter into the drama ministry full-time. That was really a harsh demand. Yes, he may say that God spoke to him; but how many people would have listened and accepted that kind of demand directly from a fellow man?
That those people even went home to pray about it was a real challenge to me. I live in a generation where you are encouraged never to serve under another man. The rallying call for entrepreneurship is not to increase production, or job creation, but primarily “don’t serve another man forever!” Hence, be it in life, ministry or even marriage, nobody wants to be the second; nobody wants to serve knowing that the glory of the service will go to another man apart from himself. It is easy for me to labour, strive and suffer for the ministry God has called me into, because I have hope that one day God will bless it, and I will be the hero, the set-man of the vision. However, it is another thing for me to labour, strive and suffer, knowing fully well that another man will take all the glory, as the set-man, of whatever that was achieved. It is always a difficult proposition.
In a generation full of Diotrepheses who are desirous to have the preeminence and to be the leader (3 John 1 vs. 9), it is becoming increasingly difficult to find men who are content to serve in the shadow of another. It is becoming a challenge to see men who will risk their lives, forsake all, and spend their energy serving, when the spotlight will not be on them, but on another man.
For me, the real heroes of that film were those brethren who went home, prayed and gave up their jobs for the sake of the vision God gave “another man”. It is very rare to find such people today. What we do not realize is that those we celebrate as “heroes” did not fall from the sky. Anybody who is a hero today was helped by the labours of other men who may never make the spotlight all their lives, but who contributed their quota to the hero’s success. The world may never celebrate them, but never mind, let us get to heaven first.
When I think of these “Sons of Encouragement”, my heart goes to men like Barnabas, Priscilla and Aquila, Phoebe, etc. They may not have been properly given attention in Bible history, they may not have had any relevance in the scheme of things on the earth; however, don’t make the mistake of thinking that when we get to heaven, Bible heroes like St. Paul, Peter, Daniel, etc. will have the highest crowns or treasures in heaven. Make no such mistake. Only heaven can tell the truly great men. Only heaven can tell the real worth of a man.
So, while the world celebrates Bro. Mike Bamiloye, I also celebrate his wife, and those other brethren in the labour who served under his shadow, giving up their all, in order to follow the vision. The world may not understand, but heaven does. The world may not fully acknowledge you, but in heaven you are well-known. Your lives have challenged me to the highest (and I hope to follow in your footsteps); and even if we never meet on earth, I hope to see you in heaven, where you are seated alongside Caleb, Jonathan, Barnabas, Silas, Ruth, Priscilla and Aquila, in the roll call of the “Sons of Encouragement” – men and women who were content to serve in the shadow of another; and some day, I hope to join you there, the Lord being my helper.
Keep on Running.