Guest post by Rob Tims
In part because I’ve published a book, and in part because of my job, I have become familiar with the work required to “build a platform.” By “platform,” I mean a stage upon which one stands to communicate to an audience that gathers to listen to whatever one might have to say. This platform could be physical (such as a pulpit one regularly fills on Sundays), but it is almost certainly digital and social (a blog, an email newsletter, a presence on Twitter or Instagram, etc.). By gaining a following to one’s platform, a person builds his or significance and reputation around a given topic or skill, and in turn gets a larger, more influential platform. For example, what was once a blog turns into a book deal.
If you’ve ever tried to “grow your platform,” then you know just how daunting it can be and the tensions that come with it, especially if your platform is used for declaring a Christian message. There are so many Christians saying so many things at the same time and in all the same places. Additionally, there are only so many things Christians can say because we are operating under the premise that God has revealed to us in His Word everything we need to know for this life. So there’s a big echo chamber, and the temptation to steal or plagiarize is real, to say nothing of the pressure to be creative or unique in one’s messaging. And there’s always the question of just how far one can go in building a name for himself before it comes all about him and not about God and His glory.
With that in mind, I was relieved to see in Exodus 1 that regular, faithful, obedient people who go about their lives with God’s glory in mind first and foremost are often given bigger platforms than the people who, on earth, seem to have the biggest platforms.
Have you ever heard of two women named Shiprah and Puah? Probably not. And yet in the book of Exodus, they are the first two people mentioned by name. The author doesn’t even mention Pharaoh’s personal name, but these 2 relatively obscure women are, which means that in the eyes of God, they had a much bigger platform than Pharaoh! And what did they do? They stood up to Pharaoh. Rather than take the lives of newborn male Hebrews as they were commanded, they honored the Lord and did everything in their power to make sure those children lived.
In the eyes of the world, these women were at one of the lowest social and economic classes and had no influence whatsoever. But in the plan of God, their platform was huge … far bigger than Pharaoh’s.
Exodus 1 is but one of many places in the Bible I could point to to illustrate that even the most “minor” character in God’s story has a huge platform of influence in His story. We don’t have to fret over followers, likes, subscribers and the growth of an earthly platform because, in the grand scheme of God’s unfolding story, we have an influential platform.
In God’s economy, we should not be surprised to find that major players in the eyes of the world are minor players in the grand scheme of things. People like Shiprah and Puah … people like you and me … play decisive roles. Our platform is massive. But it’s only when we understand this and embrace it will we be in a position to participate wholeheartedly in the work God calls us to do.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.