History contains many unsung heroes. Along with the great military, political, cinematic, sports, and sometimes religious figures whom we celebrate with statues, multimillion dollar salaries and magazine covers, there are numerous persons who have made valuable, courageous and self-sacrificing contributions to humanity while garnering little or no acclaim.
Take Henry Woodward and Thomas Evans. Who has heard of them? They were Canadians who in 1874 filed a patent for an electric light bulb. It actually worked. But they did not have the money to perfect their invention, so they sold their patent to Thomas Alva Edison. Edison modified their design, and gained renown as the “inventor” of the electric light bulb. But without the prototype developed by the obscure Woodward and Evans, Edison might never have become famous.
The Bible, too, has a canon of unsung heroes. In our worship on Sunday, July 6, we will reflect on one of them. She is a little maid in 2 Kings 5, an Israelite captured by the Syrians and carried off to serve in the household of the great general Namaan. This maid doesn’t even have a name. But her action has a profound and saving effect.
Jesus said, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Among other things, that might apply to who we consider “great.” Our spiritual life, and our discipleship walk, would be enriched and strengthened by reflection on these unsung biblical heroes, who one day, at the end of history, will receive a golden crown and be accorded the honor that they deserve.