Before we started social distancing, my family and I had passed by the Barnes and Noble because we like taking our daughter there. Going through some books, we ran across the book titled, Hidden Figures, which is a book about the three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA; Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They were the brilliant minds behind getting astronaut John Glenn into outer space. However, these brilliant minds weren’t given the credit they deserved. They each played a role in helping NASA get this astronaut into outer space, but they were not immediately acknowledged for their role in doing so.
Many times, within our jobs, homes and church, we have hidden figures that play important roles that make a difference in people’s lives, without any acknowledgment. Whether it is a parent making sure their child is fed daily, or someone’s assistant ensuring that the morning meeting run more smoothly with enough coffee for employees, these roles make a big difference when it comes to the bigger picture. That well-fed child will grow up into a healthy, young adult one day. Those employees may be a little more productive in their work because they were provided that extra burst of energy in the morning.
In our own church, we have our own hidden figures.
- We have people who ensure our church volunteers have cold water on Sunday mornings and that the first impressions area is organized with all the necessary materials.
- We have people who make sure the refreshments table has snacks available for visitors to enjoy.
- We have people who bring in donuts, bagels and orange juice for volunteers to have breakfast. We have people who make sure the video cameras and computer are set up for the live stream so that people who can’t make it out to the church can listen to the message online.
- We have people who ensure stage lights and videos are ready every Sunday so that visitors can enjoy the stage presence.
- We have greeters at church on Sundays to greet visitors with a smile so that they have a pleasant experience when they visit.
- We have people who assist in the kid’s ministry to help visitors feel at ease when dropping their kids off to hear His Word.
- We have people who ensure signs are up on the streets and in the hallways so that visitors can see directions and a nice entrance when they visit.
The same way we may not know the other “hidden figures” within the church that make a big difference to the ministry, we may not know the “hidden figure” who gave Jesus the 5 loaves to feed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:13-21). However, we DO know the impact this hidden figure made when he gave Jesus these 5 loaves and we know the impact hidden figures at our church make to the ministry.
According to one of Jesus’s parables in Matthew 13:31-32, He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
As “hidden figures,” we are each planting a mustard seed and even though many of us contribute to God’s kingdom in hidden ways, I want to encourage all of you to think about the capacity of the impact you potentially make in being a hidden figure, the way the women at NASA did.
Let’s be thankful to God for the opportunity to serve him in all types of roles, hidden or visible, and for the blessing of planting seeds that will bring people to hear God’s Word “perched” on the tree that came from the seed we planted in His name. Amen!