...And the Rest

• Jacqui Parker • July 14, 2020

I’m going to age myself a bit by referencing an old TV sitcom – Gilligan’s Island. When I watched as a kid, the original theme song had been replaced to one listing all the people stranded on the island. In the original version, the Professor and Mary Ann were left out, and the song just said, “and the rest”. It’s easy to assume that those two characters were considered unimportant, but from what I can find, it had to do with contract negotiations about the order in which the actors would be billed in the opening credits.

It’s really easy in life to consider ourselves as part of “and the rest” especially in regards to our Christian walk. We may feel like we’re not really important to the story. When we read the Bible, we often focus on the main characters – Abraham, Elijah, David, Paul, Peter, John, etc. When we think about impacting the world for Christ, again, we often think about big names that are known all over the world – Billy Graham, Steven Furtick, Beth Moore… We think about our role and feel like we’re definitely part of “and the rest”.

Did you ever stop to think about all the rest in the Bible? While Jesus was on the earth, he had many, many disciples that followed him. Very few are ever listed. Even among the twelve, there are some whose names are almost never heard. We can all name Peter, James, and John, but can you list all the other nine? I can hear the theme song, “Peter, James, his brother, John…and the rest following Jesus the Christ”.

When we look even deeper, we see some more of “the rest”. In Paul’s letters, he often sends greetings to specific people. Phoebe, Aquilla, and Priscilla are a few we know something about, but there are others who get shout outs that we know very little, if anything, about – Junias and Andronicus, for example.

Digging even deeper, we have to think about the millions of people who lived during the time period in which the Bible was written. David ruled over an entire kingdom. Moses led millions out of Egypt. Who were these people? What did their daily lives look like? Obviously, they weren’t stressed about paying an electric bill or worried about how much screen time they allow their kids, but they, like us, lived normal lives. Some of them were greatly blessed. Some of them seemed to do nothing but struggle. We don’t see them, but we know them because we are them. People choosing to follow God as we walk through our time here.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible doesn’t seem to be about one of “the rest”, but while she was living, I’m sure she felt like it. Ruth was David’s great-grandmother, but she didn’t know that while she was alive. She was a just a Moabite woman who fell in love, I assume, with an Israelite who was living in her land to escape hard times in his. Her husband, along with his father and brother, died. That sounds an awful lot like real life – unexpected sorrow and struggle. She was left with her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law deciding if she should return to her father’s house and start over in Moab or go with her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem to start new among strangers with nothing to hold them together except for their worship of the one, true and living God. She chose to go not know what would happen to her. Just like in our lives when we have to make hard decisions not having any idea how it’s going to turn out.

If you don’t know the story of Ruth, things turned out very well for her in the end, but when you really read the book and think about all the things that aren’t said, you realize that Ruth’s life was a story of “the rest”. There are many wonderful theological pictures and themes in the book of Ruth, and we often focus on those, but I encourage you to read it again not thinking about those things – just seeing it as the story of a woman who walked the earth just as you are. A woman who experience pain, sorrow, hunger, fear, and joy.

At this point, you may be thinking, “So what? I am part of ‘and the rest’ in God’s great story.” I want to remind you that there are no “and the rest” characters in this epic. In Isaiah 49:15-16, God says:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Although most of us will never be like Peter or David, Steven Furtick or Beth Moore, we are not just “the rest” to God. He knows and loves each one of us. He has plans and purposes, even if they aren’t leading a great army or becoming the great-grandmother to someone who does. We all have a part to play. Without all “the rest”, there would be no grand story. Without each of us leading ordinary lives devoted to serving the kingdom, many would be lost.

No matter how small the part, God created you to play it. Love well, give well, serve well and your part will never be small. To someone you are not just “and the rest”.