“All these I have mentioned died in faith without receiving the full promises, although they saw the fulfillment as though from a distance. These people accepted and confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on this earth because people who speak like this make it plain that they are still seeking a homeland. If this was only a bit of nostalgia for a time and place they left behind, then certainly they might have turned around and returned. But such saints as these look forward to a far better place, a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God because He has prepared a heavenly city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16, The Voice).
I recently saw an episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor and Amy Pond were able to visit Vincent Van Gogh. One of the most poignant moments was when they took him to 2010 Paris and to a museum where many of his famous art pieces were on display. He was finally able to see and feel the immense appreciation for his life’s work.
Of course, that’s how it should have played out. In reality, he only ever sold one painting during his lifetime (and that was to a family friend). He never knew he would one day be considered one of the greatest painters the world has ever known.
I also remembered a documentary I saw about an artist named Rodriguez who was relegated to obscurity here in the States but became a phenomenon in South Africa. For years, he was working as a day laborer, unaware that he was bigger than Elvis or the Beatles to the majority of South Africans.
Some of us feel like that. We often feel forgotten and neglected and unappreciated. At times, a lot of us will wonder if any of what we did made any difference at all, even if the world would have been better off if we had ever existed.
What you do matters. People are watching. You may never know how far the ripples of your little acts of kindness will travel. You may end up touching the lives of many whom you will never meet.
Ultimately, God knows. He sees what is done in secret and rewards those who persevere without recognition. A life of faithfulness is never a wasted life.
I end with a favorite movie line from Gladiator that fits in perfectly: what we do here echoes in eternity.