For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lessons from an Obscure Volunteer

I enjoy reading about some of the lesser known saints in Scripture. Some of my favorite stories are not so much about Moses and David and Paul; but about Ehud the left-handed Benjaminite, and Eutychus, the only man we know of to actually be preached to death. Great stories. Really.

During our daily readings this week another of those obscure men caught my eye: Amasiah the son of Zichri. Not to be confused with Amaziah, the son and successor of Joash as king of the southern kingdom of Judah. Nor the other small handful of people with the name Amaziah. This is Amasiah, with an “s”.

You can find him in 2 Chronicles 17:16. And that’s the only place you’ll find him mentioned, so don’t blink while reading. The passage is simply a listing of the “mighty men of valor” who served during the reign of King Jehoshaphat (who actually is the great, great grandfather of the aforementioned Amaziah, but I digress).

Jehoshaphat built quite the army, fortified his cities, etc. And Scripture lists for us some of the captains of this armed force. Most of those men are listed as “commander” or as a “mighty man of valor.” But then you get to Amasiah, and he is simply described as “a volunteer for the service of the Lord.” I love that. Other translations say he “willingly offered himself to the Lord.” Same idea. A volunteer.

This is why I like some of these obscure folks. There is such a rich lesson there about our service to God. This man was a volunteer; he readily gave himself in service to His Lord. The army of God certainly needs more volunteers, ready to serve, and fewer folks who are just looking for fame, influence, recognition, etc.

That prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon, said of this little known servant: He needed no hunting out. How many even of church-members seem to be like Saul when he was elected king, and they could not find him! “Where is that tall fellow, head and shoulders above the rest of the people?” At last somebody said that he had hidden himself among the stuff. Many of our young men to-day are among the stuff; and there are numbers both of men and women who ought to be coming forward for Lord’s service instead of hiding among the rubbish.

He said further: Some of you want so very much persuading, that you are hardly worth having when at last we get you. There is such a thing as pressing a man so long that all the juice is gone out of him, and you have only the husk of the man when you do manage to get him. Amasiah wanted no pressing at all, for in his soul there was an ardent desire to serve the living God; he “willingly offered himself unto the Lord.”

One of my favorite bands, the John Reilly Band (now just Reilly), has a song called Anyplace that says:
I'll be the sweeper of the floor nothing less and nothing more
if that is what you have in store for me my Lord
And if you should have me wait all along the watchtower gate
no option would I rather take than obey you.
I just fall on my face in worship of you.
With my all I say take me anyplace, For you are worthy…

The church could use more of that “volunteer spirit.” What a joy it would be to command an army of Amasiahs. God, fill your church with willing servants, eager for Your will and Your way, all for Your glory!

1 comment:

Gregg Metcalf said...

Scott, this was a good piece. I have read it several times now and have tried to let it sink in.

I too seem to gravitate toward the obscure or lesser lights. For example, the other night at Bible Study the question was asked, which Bible character would we like to meet. Of course, after Jesus, Paul was the number guy, then David, Peter, and so forth.

Me - I want to sit down with Luke, Timothy, Titus, Silvanus (Silas)Tychicus. I want to know what made these guys stick with Paul. What were there guys made of to endure all that they went through.

Never heard of the John Reilly Band or Reily, but I like the lyrics you posted.

BTW, if there is a little church open around your area let me know, I will send a resume and doctrinal statement - I am now looking nationally for work or ministry since the Lord has not opened anything up around here.