"We knew our father may not be alive for our future wedding, so we decided to capture the poignant moment before it was lost forever." This is how Becca Duncan explains the decision she and her twin sister Sarah made to have wedding photos made with their father, even though neither is engaged. Their dad is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, so they staged their wedding pictures with him while they can.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that basketball great Charles Barkley traveled to Craig Sager's bedside as the broadcaster recovers from a third bone marrow transplant. Sager is battling aggressive leukemia, and Barkley wanted to show his support. This despite Barkley's recent hip surgery and his doctor's warning that he should not yet travel. Sager's wife had a cold and couldn't be with him in the hospital, so Barkley flew to Phoenix to take her place.
I often encourage Christians to use our influence for the greatest public good. As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to biblical truth and faith, our courageous public witness becomes increasingly vital. We can learn from the Duncan twins and Charles Barkley—their public actions called attention to dread diseases and gave us compassionate examples to follow.
But there's another side to the story: those who serve far from the limelight are as important as those who make the news. Heroes who are unsung on earth are applauded in heaven.
In 1 Samuel 9, an unnamed servant led Saul to Samuel, who anointed him the first king of Israel (vv. 5–6). Gideon's three hundred heroes are unnamed in Scripture, but their actions preserved the nation (Judges 7:6–8).
Paul's unnamed nephew prevented a plot to murder the apostle (Acts 23:16–22). Without his bravery, Paul would have been killed before writing the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and 2 Timothy.
We don't know the names of most of the people whose stories make up the New Testament: the Magi, the Samaritan woman at the well, the two thieves at the cross, and the Philippian jailer, to name but a few.
According to John Allen's The Global War On Christians, ninety percent of all religious martyrs in the world today are followers of Jesus. The vast majority will never be named in our newspapers, but each is known and rewarded in heaven (Revelation 6:9–11).
When you have opportunity to make public your faith today, pray for boldness and act with courage (see Acts 4:29–31). But know that every act of service to God and his creation is known and rewarded in paradise, whether it is acknowledged on earth or not.
Mother Teresa, the newest Roman Catholic saint, was once opening an orphanage in New York City when a press conference broke out. A reporter shouted at the tiny Albanian nun, "How will you measure the success of this?" She smiled into the glare of the camera and said, "I don't believe our Lord ever spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness in love."
Speak and live by God's word today, and though others may ignore or reject your witness, the world can never be the same (Isaiah 55:11). This is the promise and the invitation of God.
NOTE: Janet and I want to thank each of you who responded to last week's announcement of our new grandson. We are truly grateful for your kind notes and encouragement. Our family is indeed blessed.
Publication date: September 6, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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