Editorial: Names Withheld

She was a widow by status – but a worshiper at heart. Her lot in life had been difficult: her husband’s death, resulting poverty, and dwindling resources. Little else is known. However, in one poignant moment, the intents of her heart were revealed. She had come to the temple to worship but she had little to give, and the two mites that she gave made only a faint “plink, plink” on the coins below. Quietly, she moved on, perhaps well aware that her offering was puny compared to the lavish gifts of others. But her eye was upon the One Who sees and knows all. Nothing goes unnoticed for the Lord Himself had weighed her offering and declared, “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast in more than they all” (Luke 21:3).

He was a carpenter by trade – but a soul winner at heart. Salvation had not only reached his heart but had kindled a desire to see others won for Christ. Often, he would pick up hitchhikers in the city and have a little chat about the gospel. One day, almost 60 years ago now, he picked up a young man who expressed an interest to hear more. Within a short time, the young hitchhiker had come to hear the gospel and trusted Christ as Savior. Eternity alone will reveal the full impact of the carpenter’s life but at his recent funeral, a tribute came from the son of the hitchhiker now serving the Lord in a distant field. As he wrote, “Few people will know how special a place in my heart was held by Mr. _____. Had he never stopped his car and picked up dad 57 years ago, I would not be here in _____, and I likely would know nothing of God’s love and salvation. His love for souls and ‘sold-out-living’ for God changed my life, and my eternal destiny.”

He was in management by vocation – but a shepherd at heart. The job was demanding but there was a bigger work to be done. Believers needed shepherding care and so he quietly moved to encourage those around him. One of them was a young teenager who had just experienced the devastating loss of his father. Expressions of sympathy poured in at the time of the funeral but they were of little help to a young, tender soul who struggled with the bitterness of unanswered questions. As he floundered and wavered, the shepherd consistently maintained contact with him. Emails, phone calls, and lunches together over many months were all vital in bringing the young brother through the darkest valley of his life and enabling him, with God’s grace, to move beyond the grief into a settled confidence in God’s purpose for his own life.

These are only three examples of believers, some separated by centuries, who quietly served and worshiped their Lord without great prominence and renown. There are millions more whose worship, service, and sacrifice are often unknown and even unappreciated at times. But one thing is certain – that even though their lives are not blazed in today’s headlines, our God has decreed that all will ultimately be brought to the light with rewards following. The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his readers with this unchanging fact. “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love which ye have showed towards His name in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister” (Heb 6:10). Names made be withheld here, but rewards will not be withheld there.