2000-09-15 - Let Them Know
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NASB) But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
While preparing to teach this week's Sunday School lesson about heroes, I was reminded of a recent experience. Since I returned to college to obtain my B.A. in French, I have longed to tell my high school French teacher what I am doing. She was disappointed that I did not "do more" with my French when I was in high school. I e-mailed my alma mater to ask her whereabouts, hoping she was still alive and mentally acute enough to understand what I would say to her. Unfortunately, Mrs. Thomas died in the 80's of cancer. But the principal put me in touch with one of her daughters. I wrote her and told her how inspirational her mother had been, how her belief in me had finally paid off, and how 20 years later, I had retained a good deal of what she taught me. It meant the world to her daughter. She said I put into unbiased words, what she had been trying to say to people for years. My simple note made a huge difference to her. Mrs. Thomas was a "hero" to me as a teen.
In our society today, unfortunately we Americans too often elevate people to hero status because of their appearance, how much money they make etc. But God provides "heroes" to inspire us, people who are heroes based on character and behavior. In the Bible, they illustrate points and inspire us. Who can fail to be moved by the stories of Daniel who risked his life for obedience to God, Nehemiah who perseveringly preached an unpopular message. Or the original disciples -- who gave up their livelihoods to follow an itinerant preacher around the countryside, not to mention Deborah, who courageously led God's people when the men lacked enough faith.
God also places everyday heroes in our daily path. How about the church member who quietly works tirelessly behind the scenes, doing tasks no one notices, but oh boy would we notice if they were not accomplished! Or what about the friend who has not let a painful situation embitter him or her, or who devotedly takes care of an ailing relative?
When someone makes a difference in our life, we need to let him or her know. Who has inspired you, influenced your life? A high school teacher? A Sunday School teacher? A devoted grandmother? A work mentor early on in your career? I urge you to think about someone who has made a difference in your life, and you can, write or call that person. In return, you may make a difference in theirs. But I warn you - it just may make you feel so good, that before you know it, you will be contacting everyone who ever inspired you.