Nobody’s Nobody

            One day on the news I heard that a mortuary in St. Louis would bury an unidentified body.  There was no indication that this is in the wake of a natural disaster, in which you might expect something like this.  The body of a black man was found in the Mississippi River a year before, and nobody had identified or claimed him.  Since the news story was brief, I don’t know any details beyond that.  How sad.  Did this man have no family or friends who wondered what happened to him?  Literally, only God knows who he was.  But that isn’t insignificant at all.

            Recently I skimmed through a listing of writers, artists, and performers who had died over a year’s time.  I was awestruck.  It wasn’t the names of some famous people that got to me.  It was the obscurity yet necessity of so many.  There were jobs and functions I’d never thought of, and they were performed by all kinds of people.  Have you ever watched movie credits all the way through?  Everybody and his dog seems to have some bit part in putting a movie together.  For example, somebody has to design costumes, plan sets, even be an extra in a scene, and on it goes.  Nowadays computers are wiping out a lot of jobs people used to have, but it still takes plenty to keep things going.

            Think of this.  Somebody had to cut the tree for the piece of paper you read if you print this out.  Somebody made the wood into pulp.  Somebody ran the machines that made the paper.  Somebody produced the ink that forms these words.  Somebody made the computer I’m writing with now.  Somebody carried out each of the steps necessary in getting this page to you.  You wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for each one.

            As that applies to us, we each make a contribution somewhere.  Obviously, it doesn’t have to be anything major.  It doesn’t have to be in the entertainment world or even the world of work at all.  Something as simple as giving someone a smile might make that person’s day.  Over the years I’ve read or heard stories of some small thing preventing someone from committing suicide.  Often it was a song or sermon on the radio.  It takes many people behind the scenes to put a radio program together and keep the station on the air.  God uses them all, and He knows who each one is.

            In Romans 16 the Apostle Paul spends the first several verses recognizing a number of people by name.  Take a look at 16:13: “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”  We don’t know the name of Rufus’s mother, but what Paul says about her is a blockbuster commendation.  He calls her “his mother and mine.”  She wasn’t really Paul’s mother, but he thought of her as a mother to him.  We don’t know what she did for him, but it really left a mark on him.  After all, she’s mentioned in the Word of God.

            Revelation 20 tells of the Great White Throne judgment.  Notice vv. 11-12: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”  God has a set of record books.  If you’re one of His, then your name is written in the Book of Life.  Unbelievers have their names written in other books.  Nobody goes unnoticed by God, not even the black man no one in St. Louis could identify..  Nobody is nobody.  Thank God!

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