By DANIEL MCCABE—
“Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
One ordinary spring afternoon, while weed-eating around the flat gravestones in the northeast corner of the Dallas cemetery where I worked during my seminary years, I felt something solid beneath my boots. Looking down I saw nothing, but certain that something must be there, I began carving out the grass and soon uncovered a well hidden gravestone. Curiously I brushed away the dirt with my hand until I could make out a faint inscription which read, “Gone, but not forgotten.”
The sad irony of my discovery troubled me. Had this individual truly been forgotten? Would I one day be forgotten? In all likelihood I will live my life in relative obscurity, die, and be forgotten by future generations. But I’m fine with that because although forgotten by future generations, I will never be forgotten by God. Neither will James, the son of Alphaeus, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
Do you remember James? Not the famous James, the older brother of John and son of Zebedee. Not him. But rather James, the son of Alphaeus, a virtually unknown disciple. The Bible never records any questions he asked or any miracles he performed. In fact James never receives mention at all other than to be included in the Bible’s lists of the twelve.
Luke 10:20 says, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Although unknown to you and me, God knows James intimately. God knows you too. He could never forget the day you asked him to be your Savior—the day you surrendered your life to him. Heaven rejoiced and hell groaned.
Are you a general in God’s army? Someone that everyone knows and follows? Out front, calling the shots? Maybe not. Are you more of a private? In the ranks, quietly following orders? You love the Lord, but not too many folks know what you do or even know you at all. Can God do without you? Absolutely not.
James served with Jesus daily during their three years of shared ministry. The Bible may not record anything that he asked or anything that he did, but the same demons that fled from the disciple Peter also fled from James the son of Alphaeus. The same healing power that the disciple John called upon to restore spring to the lame man’s step also restored sight to a blind man at James’ command.
Maybe you don’t think it matters what you do, so you aren’t doing much of anything right now for God. You can’t sing. You can’t play any instruments. You don’t like to speak in public. You may think that your life isn’t all that important. So you sit out of the way, hardly making a sound. Do you feel forgotten? Rejoice! God never forgets his children. You are loved. You are somebody.
Further Reading: Psalm 139:13-18
Dr. Daniel McCabe is the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Spring, Texas. He is a contributing editor for The Jerusalem Connection Report. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.