The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
—1 John 3:1b
There's something powerful in not being known. Those who want to be known or who make themselves known are often lacking in power. It seems that they are on top, that they have accolades accorded to them, that they have everything they need and more, that they have somehow "arrived" at some sort of status that we can only hope to achieve.
Yet Jesus was careful to stay below the radar screen. He did not seek power, popularity, or glory for himself, not did he choose to set himself up as a figure to be honored and adored. Those who wanted to make Jesus known were often silenced. Jesus told them not to tell anyone about him. He knew that power that comes from a desire for popularity is a weak power. The only power worth having is the power that comes from humility.
The world did not know Jesus as we know him now or as he might have been known. Yet he has changed the world; he has changed the texture of our souls; he has changed the way we relate to one another and to our world. Jesus has completely transformed our human condition.
There are times when it might seem attractive to have a little more popularity, to have someone notice when we have done something extraordinary, to be special enough to stand out and receive the praise we believe we deserve.
But true power is hidden power—invisible to all but the most discerning. We might find ourselves less stressed if we would stop trying to impress, stop trying to be noticed, stop trying to be praised. We might find that when we are content to be like Jesus—not known—we become powerful beyond words.
Gracious God, tuck me into the hidden-ness of your love, and let humility be the cloak that protects me.