“That you do not despise any of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:10
“Those who accepted his message and were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41
Tychicus, Zenas, Lucias, Jason, Priscilla, these are all names mentioned in the bible but their not exactly the John, Peter, James, Abraham, Moses, Noah names that jump out at us. And sometimes it’s not even names, David had his 500 men, 4000 and then 5,000 were fed by Jesus. 3,000 heard Peter preach about the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ and were baptised and numbered as part of the early church.
I just got back from vacation. (As this blog is read in many different places around the world, I apologize if some of the references I am about to make may not be easy to follow. If it helps think to your own country’s history and those who are thought of as the great leaders. But not only those but to the countless others who worked along side) This vacation the family went to two places steeped in tradition as among the vital places where our country was founded: Philadelphia Pennsylvania and Boston Massachusetts. I am fascinated by history in so much that the more I look into it, the story is always far greater, far richer, then the assorted myths and legends that are widely known.
For instance, we have a story about a man, Paul Revere, who was a patriot and undertook a daring nighttime ride to warn his fellow patriots that an enemy army was approaching to confiscate their weapons. There is a famous poem that was written about the ride that many American school children have heard. The problem is that it was written over 100 years after the fact and while great prose, leaves a considerable amount out concerning the actual events. So here’s the thing, depending on the sources you look at, anywhere from 2 additional, to 60 additional riders had some involvement in spreading the word that night. For the most part, Paul Revere gets the credit. Because of the warning, 77 men came out to do battle with the intruders at a town called Lexington. Later that same day, 4,000 had come out to attempt to drive the intruders back to Boston. Virtually none of those 77, let alone the 4,000 are names that we, in our country know well today.
Okay Doug, your saying, what’s the point you’re getting at here? Thanks for hanging in there with me for there are several points. One point is about our fixation in the modern world on fame and the need for our 15 minutes of it. Another point is the understanding of the impact of everyone, whether named or not. Finally and most importantly, the third point is whether the world will ever know your name or not; God does.
We live in an age now where viral is the thing. What can I do, where can I go, what can I say, that will cause people to know me; to remember my name. Marketing is everything. For a time it would be best if my name was attached to a good and noble thing. Now, it is getting equally important that my name gets out there; whether for a good thing, or maybe a really ignorant thing, or maybe even for a crime or evil thing. Bottom line, if I can become famous for whatever the reason, I can, more than likely, profit from it.
Second, in the historical story referenced above; we in America remember Paul Revere. But Mr. Revere did not fight that night or the next day. In fact he was detained, questioned and forced to walk back to Boston after they took his horse. No, it was the initial 77, then 150, swelling up to 4,000 who took up arms. Who faced the guns of the impending threat. Who fought and in some cases died that day, that sparked what would become known as the revolution. Yet so many of their names are lost to antiquity. Each and every one of those people were equally as important to the success of the revolution as Paul Revere was. Had they decided not to show up, would there be a United States of America today?
So along with that second point, Peter preached. Jesus Christ had risen and commanded that His Gospel be preached to the ends of the earth. Peter preached. But Peter was not the movement. Peter was not the first church. The 3,000 who heard Peter; the 3,000 who asked to be baptized, the 3,000 who received the Spirit that day, became the church. And that church flourished, nurtured, sacrificed, motivated and grew into a world changing force. The names of those 3,000 are lost to antiquity.
Finally and bottom line, sisters and brothers, you may find yourself asking yourself today; who am I? In this big world with its huge problems; who am I? In this world of reality TV shows, virtual reality, photo shopped celebrities, who am I? Who knows, who will ever know, who would ever care; about me? God does! God knows you! God knows you, not just as a placeholder amongst the billions and billions who have ever lived, but He knows you personally, by name. You are one of “the little ones” that Jesus spoke about whose angel stands before and beholds the face of Almighty God, incessantly.
Worldly fame is fleeting. Just ask anyone or any team that played for a world championship and lost. Few remember them. But the world is also fleeting. God is eternal. God is forever. God is to the world as a year is to a second (and even more so). So whether the world recognizes you is of extremely little importance. We, sisters and brothers are known, personally, intimately, by name, by God. And most importantly, we are loved, personally, intimately, by name, by God. His knowledge of you and I, His love of you and I will last a lot longer than any 15 minutes. It will last forever.
Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that we live in a world that does not proclaim You or Your Fame. It is sad that this world strives to uplift the creation far above the Creator. Forgive us when we are tempted to chase after the world’s recognition, especially doubting that You recognize us or that Your recognition is not enough. Give us the strength to proclaim and praise You in all things knowing that as we praise, proclaim and acknowledge You on earth. We will be acknowledged in heaven. We thank and praise You for Your love, mercy and sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ for our life and our salvation. In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen