I came from a different world before getting into ministry 16 years ago. It was a world where I could measure things easily. I could add up the income, subtract the expenses and then see clearly whether I had a good year or not. Ministry is different than that (although I now see all work is ministry).

Yes, in my form of ministry there is a bottom line, but it is not the bottom line. It’s that “bottom line”, the one that God measures, which has been for me the most vexing part of this job.

The question haunts me regularly: What does God measure?

When you take a close look at Jesus’ life it gets very difficult to ascertain what His specific ministry was while on He was on this earth. We all get the fact that He came to die for our sins and that this was accomplished at the end of His life, but so much of the rest of His life remains a mystery.

Yes, He spent three years showing people that they were off track and headed in the wrong direction, that part of His life makes some transferable sense, yet those three years were only 10% of His life.

What about the other 90%? … and why wouldn’t God give us a little more insight into those years?

If I am allowed to surmise little, it seems that his own mother even lost sight of the point of His life along the way. She, like rest of His followers, were left confused by the point of it all at His crucifixion.

So why would God leave so much of Jesus’ life a mystery, then and now?

I don’t believe it was by chance that so little is known of His early years, it was part of the Plan, I believe.

It makes some sense to me that it was done this way, as if to say, there was really nothing special about His early years. There was no place where one could look and conclude that He was special or destined to change the world; even with those early prophecies about Him while He was still an infant.

Maybe, it was as if to say, that He wasn’t special in a way that made Him have an unfair advantage over the rest of us. He wasn’t given the “secret handshake”, that “special nod” which would give Him the ability to do what others could not. In so many ways He was ordinary, like you and me. Maybe what made Him special was not the acts of His life (although many were amazing), but rather His obedience.

Maybe it’s God’s way of saying that a significant life is available to every ordinary person, no matter their circumstances or their position is life. It is not acts that impress God, rather it is simple obedience.

This makes some sense to me by the fact that Jesus even struggled in the Garden the night before His death; it showed that even after everything, Jesus still had a choice to make. Would He go after His own significance or would He follow God obediently, even to a criminal’s death?

In the end, it was His obedience in “seeming obscurity” which gave Jesus’ life the significance which we all crave… and it is that same obedience which is still available us.

The opportunity He had remains open to us today… so will we follow God anywhere? Even if it works against our own interests and safety?