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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 20, 2017

Can we be "someone"?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. often mean tragedy and death for many people and have us asking "Why?". On the other hand, the positive side of the human spirit is evident when disaster strikes, as people respond to help the victims. People stand in line to donate blood. Other look for survivors, sometimes digging in the rubble with their bare hands. Those who live elsewhere donate funds for the relief efforts.

During the U.S. election campaign for president and in the days immediately following the charitable activities of several candidates or their family members were newsworthy items. There are fundraising drives where a donor list is published, and the size of the font used to print a donor's name depends on the amount the person donated. Sometimes you see "anonymous" on the list.

We shouldn't immediately think that people who publicize their donations or allow them to be made public or doing so for the sake of recognition. On the other hand, we know Jesus' comments in His sermon on the mount about the Pharisees who gave alms to be seen doing so.

Is recognition for our service important to us? In the Bible we do not even learn the name of a person who did something very important. The person's gender and position in society were not noteworthy. A friend was sick and in desperate need of help. Someone had to inform Jesus about the illness, and an unnamed person was this someone. The apostle John recorded the story for us:

"Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick" (John 11:1-3).

Someone went to Jesus and told Him that Lazarus was gravely ill. We also have this someone to thank for the knowledge of Jesus' immediate reaction: "When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it" (verse 4).

The unknown someone contributed to us having one of the most inspiring stories in the Bible: the resurrection of Lazarus. This someone did not let the media know what he had done, nor did he have his name put on a "donor list". And he didn't badger the apostle John into including his name in John's gospel.

Can we also be just "someone", or do we always need human recognition for what we do?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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