“For God is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love which ye have shewed toward his name…” (Heb. 6:10)
Tomorrow is Memorial Day—a day of remembrance; and this verse in Hebrews tells us that failing to remember those whose lives evidenced a “labor of love” is to an example of “unrighteousness.” God Almighty is not guilty of it, nor should we be. On this day, we remember all the men and women who have served, or are now serving our country as part of our armed forces. Especially we remember those who have given their lives in this service. But I am convinced that we should also breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for those men and women of the Faith, whose blood became “the seed of the Church? For example:
- Polycarp… who was told as they prepared to light the fires of martyrdom at his feet, “If you will just utter one little word against Christ, I will release you”; but whose voice rang out in reply, “Eighty and six years have I served Him and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?...Hear my free confession…I am a Christian!”
- Betty Scott Stam…who had written this covenant with God as a college student of nineteen: “Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions (whether they be fleshly or soulish), and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships, my love. All the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever. ‘To me to live is Christ and to die is gain’” (Philip.1:21). And it was this same young woman whose body, only nine years later, would fall dead across the lifeless body of her husband—both of them murdered by the Chinese Communists in 1934.
- Jim Elliot…who as a young man had written in his journal, “Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But a flame is short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul?” And, indeed, his flame was short-lived, for eight short years later, South American Indians, to whom he had come to bring the gospel, speared him to death.
Would you not say that to forget such men and women as these, and others like them, who gave their “last ounce of devotion” for the Kingdom of God, would surely be near desecration of the Faith? Nor should we forget our brothers and sisters in Christ who live today under atheistic regimes and languish under great persecution, simply because they dare to witness to their faith in Jesus Christ. When you pray tomorrow, ask God to give them grace…and deliverance, if it is His will. Then join with me in asking Him to give us all an abiding spirit of remembrance.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psl. 116:15)