As I rode out on the morning to check some waters I decided to listen to a program I had downloaded a day prior. I don’t listen to a whole lot while riding horseback however this day was different. As the program started suddenly and unexpectedly, with no introduction, there they were….names being read off in alphabetical order. As each person read off the names in tandem with another, they would alternate back and forth. Then they would read at the end of their list the name of their loved one that had passed. Along with their loved one’s name they would share a few words about them. I didn’t make it through the first list without dust and dirt getting in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
It was the recording of the reading of the names of those that died on September 11, 2001. Obviously, there were a few of the speakers that had loved ones that were first responders that tragic day. When they would read off their loved one’s name they would include “Port Authority Police Officer…” or “Battalion Chief…” to identify them as one of those brave souls. They were the ones that ran into harm’s way to help and save who they could. They were the faithful, along with others that included civilians as well.
That terrible day set in motion a response by other faithful folks that answered the call of their nation. That call they answered was to battle evil that brought such tragedy to “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Those names that have passed during these past twenty years on the battlefield are an addition to that list.
Across this great land are memorials great and small that have names carved and etched in marble and stone that identify those faithful few. Those memorials help us remember the loved and lost and the last full measure they have given. They were faithful to their last breath.
It reminds me of some of the faithful few in God’s word that we are able to remember because their names and their stories are etched onto pages of the Bible. Of those, I point to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13. The letter to that church commends them in their faithfulness. That included keeping “My word”, “have not denied My name”, and keeping “My word of perseverance.” This church, these people, faced persecution and probably idolatry and pagan worship around them. However, they remained obedient to God’s word, didn’t deny the name of Jesus, and persevered despite the evil and assault against them. In verse 12 the Lord tells them, “I will write (on the overcomer, see 1 John 5:5) the name of My God, the name of the city of My God, and My new name.” One day Jesus will carve and write on the faithful overcomer those names, similar to what we see on a memorial or monument today.
As you and I live out our lives, let us be citizens of the United States of America that are worthy of the names upon memorials and markers. Let us live and continue in the freedoms that God has given us. Let us live a legacy of honor to the faithful few. More importantly, let us be guided by and led to live that life from a faithful walk with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let us as believers be found faithful to bear those names Jesus will write on us one day.
Well, I tip my hat to all of those names of the faithful few…and the Faithful and True, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…. I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!