“Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.” Louisa May Alcott, American author, “Little Men”
Writing for a newspaper was an excellent start to a career I didn’t know I even wanted until I fell into it out of financial desperation. A brief stint trying to herd fifth graders had proven that teaching was clearly not my calling. But, I was 22. I had to eat. And, writing, oddly enough, is what was paying.
So, I wrote. And I wrote and wrote and wrote. Journalists produce an incredible volume of words. That’s where the life lesson comes in. Where do those words wind up? In the bottom of bird cages and puppy crates. Wrapped around fish. Protecting knick-knacks that should have been put out of their misery decades ago. Cleaning off windows in the homes of the thrifty. Turning into pulp in a recycling plant.
Nothing I wrote then was precious. It still isn’t. Today, I don’t even have the semi-permanence of newsprint. Nearly everything I write is in e- version — ephemeral in every way. Good for the environment. Bad for the build up of much of an ego — and that’s a very good thing.
Those early days drilled it into me. By lines come and go. There is only one place that it truly matters whether my name remains in print. And, that is in an obscure book that is kept in heaven of all places. It’s a list of believers, people who have put their hope in Jesus.
Heavenly record keeping is both an Old and New Testament concept. David wrote about it. But, it reaches its pinnacle in this Book of Life described in Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. Such a record is the substance of hope for the earth bound, but is it not fascinating to think that, through a simple act of faith, our names can be added to that book?
I thought of this at length yesterday. Two pastors from our church and the wife of yet another pastor were martyred in their own land, which is home to many Christians, but also to many more who hate the very idea of a slain-and-risen Son of God. These ministers served in obscurity. They died in obscurity. But, their names — oh, their names — they are known to God. And, they live on.
God, help me, help us all to remember this. There will be a time when You will be the only one who really needs to know our names.