Most folks know instantly the names of famous people. That does not mean that they know what that person did or does, but the name recognition is widespread. What is fascinating to me is the number of people in history that we have no idea what their name was. Their face or action is listed, but their name is lost because they were overlooked by the historians of that era and thus never recorded.
Biblically, we can list many characters that we know their stories but not their names. For example, some of the names that are missing….the name of the boy with five loaves and two fish; the name of the inn where Joseph and Mary stayed; the name of the “adulterous woman”; the name of the “Blind Man at Siloam”…..and many more. Real people and places, but their names are not ours to know.
Historically, there are names of important people who did heroic deeds, but they did not make the cut of being prominently known to us. One example is a man who also served American on the night of the ride of Paul Revere…..
Thanks to the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, everyone has heard of the "midnight ride of Paul Revere." But few have heard of Israel Bissel, a humble post rider on the Boston-New York route.
After the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Bissel was ordered to raise the alarm in New Haven, Connecticut. He reached Worchester, Mass., normally a day's ride, in two hours. There, according to tradition, his horse promptly dropped dead. Pausing only to get another mount, Bissel pressed on and by April 22 was in New Haven--but he didn't stop there! He rode on to New York, arriving April 24, and then stayed in the saddle until he reached Philadelphia the next day. Bissel's 126 hour, 345 mile ride signaled American militia units throughout the Northeast to mobilize for war. (copied).
Mr. Bissel, whose story is listed above, represents millions of people through the years who will never have notoriety in this world. However, their selfless actions provided a great service to their generation at a most critical era. Some were soldiers, politicians, or business leaders. Some were pastors, pilgrims, and prayer warriors doing Kingdom work that abides forever. We can be grateful that “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we can run with patience the race set before us looking unto Jesus.” We do not serve to become famous. We serve to demonstrate faithfulness. It is His name we seek to make known not our own.
May the Lord help us today to be selfless in our service, steadfast in our devotion, and successful in our influence of directing others in the paths of righteousness leading to the Lord. That is God’s will for us and the very essence of a Christ-follower’s mission. In making Jesus known, we find our greatest joy and fulfillment. If you go through life and do not know me, you have not missed much. If you do not know Christ, you will miss out on fellowship with God forever!