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Unsung Heroes

Deuteronomy 7:7
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples …”

We all love a good underdog story, don’t we? The motif of a surprising, unexpected hero underwrites many of our greatest chronicles and epic tales. You need only look to Arthur Pendragon or Lucy Pevensie or Peter Pan or Huckleberry Finn for proof that, even for adults, there’s something wonderful about the thought of an unsung hero leading the way. As Isaiah so poignantly envisioned it in Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat … and a little child shall lead them.” For God chooses what is weak in the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthian 1:27).

Like Frodo and Sam Baggins, the ultimate heroes of Tolkien’s Middle Earth drama, who started out as two unadventurous hobbits living in the back hills of their world, very much in the shadows of magical elves and powerful wizards and hulking ogres, till opportunity struck. The reason stories like theirs continue to persist in our collective memory, finding new adaptations in each passing generation, is because characters like these represent us, and we love watching little people rise to great heights against all odds. Even the smallest seed in the garden, the mustard seed, the most unimpressive, unassuming seed of all, towers in the end when it is full grown. That was true of our LORD and Savior, it was true of Israel, and it’s been true of His church ever since Pentecost. The Kingdom of Heaven rises in the hearts of small men.

To think that God has the whole world at His fingerprints, with hundreds of millions of highly impressive, highly productive, highly charismatic people to choose from, yet He looks for the poor in heart. And to think that even those among us who are impressive in a worldly sense are not loved more or used more or heralded more in Heaven’s eyes. No! Because the story we all hold dear, the song every saint sings in the choir of the redeemed is this: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”

From humble beginnings to a glorious ever after. That’s the gospel gift that keeps on giving!