C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit.” In Romans 12:2 Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Nonconformity to the world, marching to a different drummer, zigging when everyone else zags, is a costly exercise, by worldly standards. Real integrity and true morality, for the most part, go unnoticed. Otherwise it’s like the church goer who can’t wait to tell you he is tithing or the minister whose sentences overflow with “I’s” and “my” and “mine”.
Doing the best you can to follow God is frequently living a life of quiet prayer and faith, going unnoticed, like the widow, who, surrounded by religious showmen, gave her all, but no one noticed … except Jesus.
In 1 Kings 14 Jeroboam’s son Abijah got sick and died because Jeroboam, blessed by God, had very quickly forgotten the source of his power and wealth. In an effort to hang on to what God had given him (as though God can give it, but can’t sustain it) Jeroboam set up false shrines so his people would not go to Jerusalem to worship God.
God made good on his vow to destroy Jeroboam’s sons (starting with Abijah) and any who followed Jeroboam, but God said, referring to Abijah, for he alone of Jeroboam’s family shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord … There was something different about Abijah.
Neither Jeroboam nor any of his other sons would come to the grave. In other words, none received a proper burial, but much more is implied. In this context coming to the grave is a good thing. It implies there is something much worse than merely dying.
I don’t find in Scripture what was pleasing in Abijah that kept him from the same fate as his father and brothers, but I suspect it wasn’t a big ministry with a large flock. Rather, he was in nonconformity with those around him. He had a different attitude, a different moral compass. Staying true to what you believe in your heart is a life-long test, whether your life is brief or extended.
There are exceptions, but many who live a quiet life of faith live and go to the grave unnoticed, but in a couple of generations the rich and the famous are likewise just as forgotten.
Remember Abijah, God noticed.