True Heroes

What do people think about when they hear your name?  Well, if your name is Sybil Ludington they probably look confused or shrug in indifference. But when your name is Paul Revere, images come to mind of a dramatic, solitary, heroic, midnight, horseback ride made to warn the American patriots that “the British are coming.” According to history a sixteen-year-old girl named Sybil was part of that same band of five riders (Samuel Prescott, Israel Bissell, William Dawes rounded out the group) and was just as courageous and noble as Revere,  and it’s all because of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow years later called “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” 

Sybil’s ride was twice as long as Paul’s and it is said that George Washington came personally to Sybil Ludington’s home after the battle at Danbury and thanked her for her important contribution to the Revolutionary War and our country’s freedom.

In many arenas in the past, there were innovators, scientists, and inventors whose names you probably know.  Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Thomas Edison, who are instantly recognizable, but some like Maurice Hilleman, Alexander Fleming, and Ignaz Semmelweis never became household names. This last group were discoverers of everything from lifesaving vaccines to ways to prevent the spread of disease, but they never had a product, a condition or treatment named after them.

There are also nameless characters in the Bible who got a lot of press by the gospel writers, but not identified by name, who they were, or what they achieved. For instance, what about the little unidentified boy who gave his lunch, the undistinguished woman at the well, and the unknown thief on the cross—all important to the building of our faith, but never named or mentioned again later in scripture. Anonymous, unsung, but heroes just the same.

The mother of disciples James and John asked Jesus to let her boys be His favorites and to flank Him at the Kingdom’s table—a rise in the pecking order. When the other disciples heard this, they were jealous or maybe mad at themselves for not thinking to be the ones to make this request.

Some crave notoriety. Some don’t.  Some deserve it. Some don’t.

The fact that you don’t have your name in lights means nothing to the Kingdom. Your name may fade into obscurity in this life, but in God’s eyes you may be a hero.

I think it is no accident that the first of Jesus’ Beatitudes is …

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 3)  The least of us will inherit it all.

4 thoughts on “True Heroes

  1. Dana Farmer Maxwell

    Thanks for including me, Nan.
    I loved this today.
    I struggle with self doubt and worth. This brought it home for me.
    I know I am God’s child and worthy as a person. But with all the “noise” in our society to acknowledge those that achieve, have great knowledge, beauty, wealth, health, possessions, etc., others feel left out. But we should get our worth from God and be thankful for all of His blessings!

  2. Toni Lewis

    I was totally excited about your rendition of the girl Sybil who rode longer than Paul Revere and was commended by George Washington. You had my total attention. Thank you. Toni Lewis


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