Honoring “The Other Guy.” Part I


History is generally written in praise, and contempt, of the so called “great men” (and yes, women, since I am using the inclusive understanding of men). News is created by “news makers,” celebrities, stars.

English: King David, second king of Israel

English: King David, second king of Israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Bible, David (later King David) is one of the great ones… the one with the courage and chutzpah to take on a giant, and the audacity and dissimulation to travel around leading a band of rebels while claiming to be faithful to the King of Israel. He was the one who could write a great psalm of praise to God, do something breathtakingly evil, and then write a great psalm of contrition to God. Everything, good and bad, he did was BIG.

But that is not like most of us. Most of us are more like, the other guy– the one who doesn’t do the flashy things. The one who is backstage or in the audience, not front and center.

I suppose I am generally one of those, one of the other guys. If I was David and was pushed (probably unwillingly) to approach the King regarding Goliath, I wouldn’t offer to go to battle. I would probably explain to the king the health problems and reduced life expectancy associated with giantism. I would suggest a delaying process. I suspect Malcolm Gladwell would approve. David as king danced in the street completely oblivious to decorum as the ark of the covenant was restored to the tabernacle. I can’t see myself like that. I don’t like to dance… or maybe it is better to say that I like NOT dancing. If I was in the position of David and I became filled with zealous spiritual fervor, I would probably step off the street and start blogging, I suppose, in one of the many Internet shops that I am sure were all along the streets of Old Testament Jerusalem.

You might think that I don’t care for Stars… Celebrities. That’s not necessarily true (although I can’t help but suspect that people like Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, or Paul would be difficult next-door neighbors). Rather, I love when someone who is “the other guy” gets his moment. I had mixed feelings about the book “The Prayer of Jabez” but I loved how a forgettable man millenia ago humbly asked God to make him a blessing to his family, the family that “cursed” him with the name Jabez (meaning “sorrow” or “trouble”). I love when someone so clearly “the other guy” has his moment to inspire the world.

But one of my true favorites in the Bible is one of the ultimate “other guys.” That is Thomas. One might argue that Thomas was a star not an “other guy” since he was one of the select Twelve. But consider the following:

  • The name Thomas (also Didymus) means the twin. Some think he was the twin of Matthew. It makes sense, but one can’t be dogmatic. The key point though is that being known as “the twin” is about equivalent to being known as “the other guy.” Consider this. Two brothers are being introduced… “I want you to meet two friends of mine. This is Matthew. And this is his brother… The Twin… the other guy.”
  • According to church tradition. Thomas’ real name is Judas. So even among the Twelve, he was the “other Judas” not the primary Judas.
  • Three of the four gospels never mention anything about Thomas except that he was one of the Twelve.
  • Thomas is most famous in the Bible for being a doubter. Doubting is the cerebral, passive behavior more common of other guys than of stars… heroes.

Yet Thomas finished strong.  See Part II to this post to see an “Other G.uy” who made good. To read it, CLICK HERE

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