Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Lesson of the Unnamed Linen Weaver

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Joseph purchased a shroud of fine linen and took the body down from the cross. Then he wrapped it in the linen shroud and placed it in a tomb quarried out of the rock. Then they rolled a large stone over the entrance to seal the tomb (Mark 15:46, TPT).

History would understand if the unnamed linen weaver of Mark 15:46 went completely unnoticed against the dramatic backdrop of the crucifixion and death of Jesus of Nazareth. But here it is, a barely discernible clue to the weaver’s existence, embedded in the courageous act of the prominent Jewish leader Joseph of Arimathea. A shroud of fine linen.Joseph dared ask Pilate to grant him custody of Jesus’ body so he could give him a proper burial. And a proper burial required not just any linen wrapping, but the best available.

Linen weaving was no minor business in Jesus’ time, and it remains a thriving, competitive artisanal craft in Middle-Eastern markets today. It is not uncommon to see women clustered in the weaving district, heads bent over a piece of linen, loudly examining the tightness of the weave, the quality of the thread, and the vibrance of the colors.

Meantime the weavers sit quietly aloof in dimly-lit shops, concentrating on the fine work of their hands. They are not easily distracted from their craft. Long hours of solitude produce strong, beautiful craftsmanship.

On the darkest day in history, as the Savior of humanity hung lifeless on a criminal’s cross, the hope of the world stood at an impasse. The earth held her breath as grief and confusion paralyzed Jesus’ followers. 

The physical body of the great Son of God deserved nothing less than the finest linen humans could produce. Joseph did what he thought was his last act of service for Jesus and reverently wrapped his body in the exquisite linen of the unnamed weaver.

Three days later, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jacob, and Salome would be startled and amazed to find the stone rolled away and an angel sitting beside the discarded linens inside the empty tomb. Peter would be rendered speechless when he barged breathless into the vacant sepulcher and discovered those same linens abandoned and lying to the side (Luke 24:11-12, John 20:6). 

The unnamed linen weaver served God unnoticed and unnamed, yet created a piece of linen worthy of the King of kings, a work remembered still today.

I want to create work worthy of the King of kings. Work that will stand the test of time. 

The unnamed linen weaver may or may not have ever met the Son of Man. He may or may not have learned that the One who forgave humanity from the cross was wrapped in the work of his hands hours later. But that isn’t the point. The beauty of the story of the unnamed linen weaver is that God used his diligence to declare His glory.

As writers, we long for God to use our diligence to declare His glory. But isn’t it important to get noticed? For our writing to make a splash? To be unnamed would be failure, wouldn’t it?

Galatians 6:4 (TPT) says, Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others.

The writer’s craft is largely a solitary one, requiring hours spent in seclusion, bent over a keyboard wrangling with words. Untangling the knots of our pent-up thoughts. Carefully weaving the darkness and light of human existence into a pattern that displays beauty and truth. 

Such work requires devotion and patience. Knowledge of what tasks belong to us, what work God has given us to do, and what He has not.

When we understand the work He has given us, we are freed to do it with diligence and focus. We experience joy in being ourselves, the unique and individual writers we were made to be. 

The greatest joy is found not in fame and renown, but in doing work we were made to do with devotion and excellence. Our names need not be remembered. We want God’s to be.

The unnamed weaver became part of God’s great story of redemption. What a beautiful outcome of work well done in the secret place of diligence.

It is possible to create work that is remembered long after our names are forgotten.

I have a little habit I’ve developed over the years. Before I press send to submit an article or manuscript, I pray. I release its outcome to the One I write for. Obedience is my business. Outcome is God’s business. In this way, I release the success of my work to Him. If I have done my part, I have peace He will do His. He will write the rest of the story, the part I cannot. What joy!

Lord, help me fulfill the work You have given me to do with excellence and make it part of Your story in the world. Amen.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers)an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: Barnes & Noble Books A MillionAmazon.

You can also find Audrey at, as well as on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Obedience is my business. Outcome is God's business. I love this. I just have to remember it.
    As always, I look forward to your posts, thank you for your wise words.

    1. Thank you for reading, Sharlene. I learned that truth from Elisabeth Elliot. It helps me every day. Blessings to you!

  2. Beautiful post, Audrey, thanks. A good reminder to stay obedient to the call—with excellence—and leave the results with the Lord.

    1. I find I need to remind myself regularly, Wendy. It's a daily discipline! Blessings to you today!

  3. Thank you for the reminder of why I write. I pray for God to give me words He wants to share. I write to give Him the glory. :-)

    1. Amen, Melissa. His glory, not ours. May God give you His words today.

  4. Beautiful thoughts and beautiful words. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for reading and encouraging, Crystal!

  5. Audrey, what a beautiful and touching piece of writing. I love it when God gets the glory and we remain unknown.

    1. I do too, Roberta. I like to be hidden behind Him. It is a very special place to be. Bless you on your writing journey.