I’d like to tell you about the most impressive person I’ve ever met.
His name is Chomno and he lives in Poipet, Cambodia. His story, if it was to be shared, would have Hollywood scriptwriters reaching for their pens.
They’d hear of how he lived through the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime, escaping across the border into the refugee camps of Thailand. He met his wife there and, as they married, bombs rained on to the camp ruining the already simple celebration. When peace returned to his homeland they returned to the capital and began to rebuild their lives, but a trip to the border town of Poipet found him being called by God to give up everything and move there to set up a charity to serve the poor and destitute.
That’s precisely what he did, going with no great plan or financial backers, just obediently answering a call and looking to God to provide what was needed.
As I sat in the Cambodia Hope Organisation’s centre listening to Chomno’s story, after a day of seeing the extraordinary work that his organisation does, I knew that I was meeting with a hero of the faith. We joked with him about writing a book of his story, but the reality is that he’s too busy doing what he’s been called to do to worry about personal profile or who knows his name or what he’s done.
In the modern western world of constant updates, followers and selfies, it challenges me to ask ‘What if no one knew my name?’
What if the only person who saw who I was and what I do was Jesus. Would that be enough?
How often to I fall into the trap of looking for recognition in all of the wrong places? I find myself caring a little more than I should (or like to admit) about who saw/heard/read/liked what I have done.
For centuries, people have followed God’s call to serve him in the unknown or forgotten corners of the world, or the unseen and unglamorous communities of our cities. Most have gone in quiet and humble ways, counting the cost rather than the Twitter followers. The majority have never had biographies written about them, or had anyone hear of their work. No one except the only one whose opinion really counts.
Of course it’s great to be encouraged and cheered on, but what if the only chorus of praise was from heaven? What if the only ‘well done’ was from the Father? Would that be enough to keep me going? Would I keep faithfully serving at whatever I have been called to if the only eyes to see it were those of Jesus?
This week I am reminding myself to truly have that audience of one. To train my gaze away from the lure of worldly praise and focus instead on what pleases the one I get to call Abba.