I was in Starbucks recently, and after taking my order, the cashier asked for my name. I told her it was Tracey, and she asked, “Is that with an ‘-ey?”
Surprised that she guessed correctly, I told her yes, and mentioned that most people just spell it “Tracy.” Having it misspelled, especially by people who don’t know me, is not a big deal. However, it’s nice when someone does take the time to find out how to spell it right.
When it comes to the names of Bible characters, there are many we know well. Even non-church-attenders recognize names like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jonah.
While reading the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter one, I found an interesting person mentioned in verse five. It says, “And Salmon begat Booz [Boaz] of Rachab [Rahab]; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;”
Rahab, Boaz, Ruth, and Jesse are all names with which I’m familiar. But never before had I noticed Salmon. The more I considered this man, the more I realized what an interesting person he must have been.
Salmon married Rahab, a known harlot from the city of Jericho. She wasn’t one of his people, the children of Israel, but a foreigner. We have no details about the circumstances surrounding their marriage. It makes me wonder what emotions, if any, were involved. Was it love, sympathy, kindness, or some sense of duty that prompted him to take this unlikely woman as his wife?
Secondly, he was the father of Boaz. We know nothing about Salmon’s character, but we’re told a good bit about Boaz in the book of Ruth. Boaz was a “mighty man of wealth” (Ruth 2:1), one who knew the Lord and showed compassion for those in need. He was willing to take his rightful place as kinsman-redeemer and have Ruth for his wife. Surely he learned some of these admirable traits from his father. Like his father, Boaz married a woman who was an outsider.
While some Christians, today and in the past, have highly recognizable names, how many countless others have stories that are not recorded in history, yet have had a great impact for the cause of Christ?
We know about David Livingstone and Amy Carmichael, but how many missionaries are faithfully serving in foreign countries in relative anonymity? Men like Billy Graham have been well-known, yet there are plenty of wonderful preachers who have never spoken to a large crowd.
Whether it’s an elderly widow who prays unceasingly for others, a young mother who spends her days pouring into the lives of her children, or a Christian businessman who has a vibrant testimony at work, God knows all about each one of them.
I’m thankful for the reminder Salmon is to us. We know so little about him, yet he’s listed in the genealogy of Jesus. In the same way, you and I don’t need to be well-known or full of talent to fulfill our place in God’s plan. We don’t have to score hundreds of likes on Instagram or maintain a large platform to share the message of the gospel.
There’s nothing wrong with those things if that’s where God has put us. But our task is to surrender to His will, trusting that He knows how to work in our lives what is best for His kingdom. We just need to be faithful to do what He has called us to do.
So if you think that what you’re accomplishing today is small or unimportant, be encouraged by Salmon. None of us go unnoticed by God.
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