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Hey You! Yeah you! The insignificant one over there!

We all know the ‘Proverbs 31 Woman‘, someone to which Christian women aspire, but have you heard of the ‘Proverbs 30 Insignificant Nobody.’

24 “Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
    yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

So you feel insignificant; kind of like a small fish in a big pond?  You’re a photographer but not Ken Duncan.  You’re a painter, but not Pro Hart.  You’re a writer, but not Jerry B Jenkins.  You’re an actor, but not Kirk Cameron.  Your work is pretty good, but you’re no big-named hero of your craft.

Some things are more important than fame or being the big man on campus.

Consider with me for a moment, the four animals that are listed here in Proverbs 30;  four small, insignificant animals.

Ant bridge unity

Ant bridge unity

The first animal is the ant which works during the good season to store up for the bad season.  Whether you’re an artist, a farmer or an entrepreneur, life comes at you in seasons.  It’s easy during the periods of success and favour to relax and enjoy the fruit of the season.  Like the ant though, we need to be storing up and saving so that when the time comes that the next big thing has pushed us aside, or we enter a phase of creating new work, we won’t starve.  Like a farmer plants, fertilises, waters and defends his work against pests and weeds, so too we have seasons of revising our systems, renewing our marketing ideas, studying, networking and polishing our art.  It’s also important to note that during the times of prosperity, the ant is not a lone ranger.  They work hard together in unity to achieve a common goal.

 

Close-up of a Rock Hyrax on rocks, looking to the side

The Rock Hyrax… on rocks…

The next animal is the hyrax?  Really?  Does anybody even know what one of those is? I had to Google it.  Apparently hyraxes are well-furred, rotund animals with short tails from Africa or the Middle East.  Typically, they measure between 30 and 70 cm long and weigh between 2 and 5 kg. They are often mistaken for rodents, but are more closely related to elephants – as you would expect.  The point here is though, that the hyrax is not exactly a lion when it comes to degrees of toughness.  Knowing its weakness then, it chooses a place to live that is safe – among the rocks of cliffs, crags and ridges.  In the same way, we need to recognise the weaknesses that we have that are going to see us harmed – and choose not to dwell there.  Psalm 91:1 tells us that whoever dwells in the shelter or secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Deuteronomy 22:37 says that the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are His everlasting arms.  We need to not just acknowledge our weakness, but know where the Rock is that we can run to and live in.  If we are living in that safe place, then we can have infinitely greater levels of confidence in ourselves and in our work.  Fear is the killer of creativity, so live in a place of faith.

 

Swarm with one heart.

Then we have the swarm of locusts who, with one heart and one mind move together with a single purpose.  Stripping the land of all greenery may not be a very noble purpose, but nonetheless, look at what they can together achieve.   If we would surround ourselves with like-minded, faith-filled brothers and sisters who are going the same place we are and commit ourselves to actively putting great amounts of energy into forging forward the same direction together, there would be very little we couldn’t achieve.   I believe the reference in Proverbs to locusts speaks to unity in our family, in our church family and within our professional organisations – advancing together in our ranks, despite circumstances such as a lack of leadership.

 

Seemingly insignificant

The last animal is that of the lizard.  I’m sure that all of us have seen a small garden skink in our home at one time or another.  Because of its size and because it really poses no threat, we don’t enter into some type of frenzied panic to get it out of the house.  In fact, if we remember that it’s in there eating flies, cockroaches and spiders, we’re likely to even be grateful that you just saw it wander from behind the coffee table to behind the couch.  The point here is that we have the power to catch them or even to kill them quite easily, and yet because of their nature and size, we leave them to do what they like.  In what way are we like that lizard?  Sometimes, being insignificant is an advantage.  If the community around you doesn’t ever see you as a threat and you just quietly go about doing the helpful things that you do,  appearing insignificant and not caring about your status, you might just be surprised where that can take you, maybe even into the palace of a king.

What it boils down to is this:  Wisdom can be far more valuable and important than status, stature or position.  We should chase after wisdom in how we operate our business, in the work we create, in the relationships we promote…   Proverbs 4:7 reminds us that wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore we should get wisdom, and with all your effort work to acquire understanding.

It would seem that this is not the way of the world, but as creators of the Kingdom, it needs to be one of the ways that we influence culture.

 

Every changing; Thy Kingdom come

Jonathan

 

UPDATE:  Post Script from Visual Artist, Froyle Neideck.

11802509_10153563821618338_3545944202530447049_o‘If the community around you doesn’t ever see you as a threat and you just quietly go about doing the helpful things that you do, appearing insignificant and not caring about your status, you might just be surprised where that can take you, maybe even into the palace of a king’.

I really like this statement. My mum & I create beautiful things. We print my amazing paintings onto fabric and create cushions, purses and bags. It is just us, it’s not big business, it’s not manufactured in China, it’s made in a house in Tewantin by Nana (old school craftsmanship) and we sell them through house parties. Yes, like the old fashioned tupperware idea, but way cooler! We thought it was a bit silly at first, small group, one on one, dealing with people; but what we have found is that in this space it gives us an opportunity to really encourage people and to speak hope into their lives. One at a time, real people, with hurts and heartaches, that we get to fill with joy, laughter and beautiful things. Everywhere we look we are pushed to believe that it has to be big to be better. Faster, more, bigger, with lots of money and people. Lots of likes, lots of fans and fame. We have found a way to change culture one person at a time, to remind people that the world is an amazing place, God is good, and there is hope, things can get better. I guess Nana & I are like the lizards! (read the blog post) and who knows, maybe we will go into the kings homes, maybe we won’t, but with each person we encourage, we are releasing life, hope and grace and that is making a difference. It might be a small thing, but it is our thing!’

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