Dose of Truth

Honoring the overlooked

Tim Richards

Far too often those who work behind the scenes are either ignored or viewed as less valuable than their upfront counterparts. This tendency was addressed by Sheridan Voysey in “Our Daily Bread” on July 30, 2023, when he shared about his friend Mick, who works on a ship called Africa Mercy. The Africa Mercy is a hospital ship providing free healthcare to those needing treatment in underdeveloped African countries. Each day the medical staff serves hundreds of patients who would not otherwise be treated.

Occasionally, a television crew will board the ship to report on the remarkable ministry of those who “fix cleft palates and reset club feet.” While it is appropriate to feature the ship’s amazing medical staff, the story of Voysey’s friend is never mentioned because his job is not glamorous, though it is vital to the medical care provided.

Mick is an engineer, and surprised God placed him where he serves, working in the ship’s sewage plant. On a normal day he can deal with 10,500 gallons of dangerous waste or even more. Managing this amount of toxic material is incredibly serious. If Mick quit taking care of the pipes and pumps aboard the Africa Mercy, life-giving surgeries would soon stop and place everyone, including the medical team, in jeopardy.

It is often easy to give credit to those who lead an organization while overlooking the support staff who work behind the scenes. The Apostle Paul discussed this very issue in his first letter to the Corinthian church when he wrote, “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-22, NLT)

Those who work on a “lower deck” may be overlooked and underappreciated, but their roles are almost always essential. God has created each of us with a unique set of talents and when we use our gifts to serve God and others, he is honored.

Many years ago, I was surprised to read God’s assessment of the craftsmen who helped build a place to worship him. “The Lord has gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability to perform any task involved in building the sanctuary…” (Exodus 36:1, NLT, my emphasis)

When we think of “wisdom” our first thought is not typically about carpenters, yet this is how God described these ancient workmen. If you are passionately using your talents for God and others, please take heart. Your work reflects honor to God and is a blessing to you and those you serve.

As a pastor and columnist for nearly 15 newspapers, Tim Richards has lifted the spirits and challenged the hearts of those who have strong faith as well as those whose faith is weak. In his third book, “Sailing Through the Storm,” readers will again discover new ways to live with godly perspective in a world that increasingly seems to have lost its way.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at