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Leaving an anonymous impact

Do you like mysteries? If so, you should relish 2 Corinthians 8:18.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, informed them that Titus would be coming to them with "the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel." No other identification of this individual accompanying Titus is given, leaving many puzzled as to his identity.

Numerous people have been suggested for this mysterious man — Luke, Barnabas and Mark among others — but no one knows for sure. I like how one commentary writer sums it up: "We do not know who the person is, but his identity is not important ..."

This might sound strange today, since people like to be recognized. We desire to be known and hope we will be remembered. Anonymity does not sit well with us. Our identities should outplay our actions.

However, Paul's mystery suggests a better option. It is not important that our names are known as long as our actions impact others for the gospel. It is more about service than identity.

There is an inherent danger with recognition: the more we gain, the easier it is to get off our spiritual track. We seek personal accolades in place of God's glory. Our Christianity becomes more about us than Christ.

Being a nameless servant of God has its benefits. Just think, if we choose to be a modern day, spiritual mystery, our ministry could prosper and at the same time provide something for others to puzzle over.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.