Article | Missions magazine

Almost Famous

Mar 18, 2024

By Keith R. Keyser

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”1 Believers’ identification with Christ joins us to God’s family but also lays us open to the world’s antipathy. Unbelieving humankind hated Christ and correspondingly hates His people.2 The epitaph of the translator and missionary John Nelson Darby similarly expresses the believer’s obscurity in this age; it reads, “As unknown, and yet well known.”3 Christians possess a dual identity: they are neglected by the world, yet they are notable to the Lord and His saints. According to Darby, “To whatever degree we enjoy the position of Jesus in heaven, we must also share His position here below, to be hated: it is the practical position of the Christian.”⁴ Nevertheless, at His coming, the church will be displayed before the universe as the Lord’s brothers and sisters.⁵

Incognito influencers
Contemporary believers internationally labor in building the church. They perform many different tasks for the Almighty’s glory, depending on the divinely given gifts they possess. Some pray for ministries around the world; others give material gifts for the support of God’s missionaries. Some evangelize, some teach, some write, and others print what is written. Some work as educators, and some use their medical abilities to help others. Some employ mechanical skills in far-flung areas, while others serve as digital messengers, sending forth God’s Word on the internet. Translators, pilots, and construction workers all contribute to the Great Commission’s fulfillment.

The unbelieving world is largely ignorant of these philanthropic efforts. If it considers such labor, it often responds with criticism or even outright persecution. The message of the cross remains an offense to the lost, and they willfully ignore the believers’ positive salt-and-light influence.⁶

Some known, more unknown
Even within the church, many of God’s choice servants—of the past and present—have toiled in the shadows. John Wesley is justly famed for his preaching, but what of his friend Silas Todd, whose field was the notorious Newgate Prison in London? George Müller left a legacy of serving the Lord by faith, but few people recall his scholarly friend Henry Craik, who colabored with him at Bethesda Chapel in Bristol, England.⁷ 

D. L. Moody is celebrated as one of the greatest evangelists ever. But few people recognize the names of the men who influenced him: Edward Kimball (who led him to Christ), Henry Varley (who challenged him to greater consecration to the Lord), and Henry Moorhouse (who revolutionized his preaching).⁸ 

The Lord does not promise His servants recognition on earth; instead, His judgment seat is where “each one’s praise will come from God.”⁹ Currently, the unbelieving world ignores Christ, unaware of His present glorified position. When He returns to physically establish His millennial kingdom, we will accompany Him as members of God’s royal family. Though formerly regarded as inconsequential nobodies, we will then be transformed into Christlike administrators of God’s kingdom. As Darby’s great hymn “And Is It So, I Shall Be Like Thy Son?” says: “All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord; object supreme of all, by all adored.”

Work for the night comes
In light of God’s plan for us, continue serving Him. Remember that “nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”10 As C. H. Spurgeon said, “Go on serving God year after year, though you be altogether unknown, feeling it quite sufficient that you have, by the grace of God, served your generation and honored your Redeemer.”11 n

Keith Keyser is a commended worker based in Pennsylvania.

Originally published in Missions magazine, March 2024. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at