Matthew 10:2-4 names 12 men who, until this point, had made no mark on history. From other passages, we know they were mostly fishermen. There were no statesmen, no religious leaders, no military giants. Instead, there were guys with nicknames, somebody's brother, somebody's son, a tax collector and Simon, a man so obscure, scholars today have no clear idea what his name, "the Cananaean," really means. These were not well-know people.

And after their time with Jesus and their work following in his steps, history is still mostly silent. They did not change the world nations by becoming military, economic, religious, political or educational giants. There is only tradition and best guesses about what they did. They began their lives - and ended them - in obscurity.

And yet, they changed the world. Little-by-little, heart-by-heart, they touched people, they taught and influenced people, and they changed how these people lived, what they believed and what they did in life. These obscure men carried in their hearts the words and ideas and the Spirit of Jesus. (There were women, also, though not part of these 12.) Over time, this influence did change institutions and did enlist historical "greats," but the movement did not start there.

You and I may someday be asked to take our brief moment of fame. But until then, we can be confident that even our relatively obscure lives matter. We can help people, live faithfully and do what we can wherever we find ourselves knowing the fame and influence are two separate matters.

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