The headlines this week read, “Record Breaking Heat Wave in US and Europe . . .” and “Record Breaking Heat Bearing Down on the Plains, Mississippi Valley as Storms hit the Northeast.”
Summer is brutal. The temperature reached a record 106° F in Washington D.C. on July 20, 1930. Keokuk, Iowa set a state record of 118°F on July 20, 1934, and Phoenix, Arizona set a high overnight record of 93°F on July 20, 1982. I should also mention that 18.18” of rain fell in Edgarton, Missouri setting a state 24hr rainfall record in 1965. Did I say, “Summer is brutal?”
History. Just like Sam Cooke sang, “I don’t know much about history.” I came across those records while searching for interesting historical events and facts that I could use in a lesson or for this chapter of Driving Thought. I did find out something else that I think is interesting.
In our US History classes we learn about Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, their interpreter and Native American diplomatic relations director, Sacagawea, along with many others on the Corp of Discoveries Expedition (a.k.a. The Lewis and Clark Expedition) and their remarkable journey from East to West across North America. I learned in my search that they were not the first of European descent to cross North America. Many of you, like me, did not know the story of the first to cross from east to west.
The first European to cross East to West north of Mexico on the North American Continent was a Scottish explorer named Alexander Mackenzie (The Mackenzie River in the Canadian Northwest Territory bears his name). In 1792 at 28 years old he began his expedition in Alberta, Canada following a fur trading route to Fort Chipewyan and arrived at the Pacific Ocean on July 20, 1793 a full 12 years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific Coast. A few years earlier he took a similar trip from Alberta and turned northward arriving at the Artic Ocean.
He did not get the US headlines, nor do we read about him in US History, probably because he was a Scotsman, and his crossing was in Canada. However, his story is worth knowing and remembering.
There are often “unsung heroes” in history. They are the people that do not get the press coverage, yet their contributions are important. There are even unsung heroes in the pages of scripture. These individuals and groups go unsung in Bible classes, sermons, and articles, but God remembers them. Look up Tychicus who was invaluable to Paul, or Epaphras whom Paul calls a fellow servant, fellow minister, and fellow prisoner. These two men may not have the same amount of material written about them, but what they did and who they were is important to the cause of Christ.
Turning to the Old Covenant we could mention Shiphrah and Puah. I’ll wait while you tell me all you know about them. . . That much, eh?
These two women were the midwives that spared the sons of Hebrews in Egypt.
“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.” (Exo 1:15-21 ESV).
The story of Israel would not be the same without these women. There would not be males to carry on the Hebrew nation that God will lead out of Egypt. What might seem a small thing is so much more.
That brings me to us. You and I may not get the press coverage. The church and the world may not know our names and our contributions. The leaders in the congregation you attend may not even know what you are doing for the kingdom, but God knows your name and what you do for His kingdom.. You are in His book. “And heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.’” (Rev 14:13 – ESV)
Keep on keeping on in your walk and service to God. Even in anonymity.