As a young man Dunant experienced the bloody aftermath of the Battle of Solferino and was moved by the plight of the wounded on both sides. Using his early influence, he helped produce the famous Geneva Convention and set up the first committee of the International Red Cross, which has helped many thousands of people all over the world. To this day, the Red Cross and Red Crescent (sometimes operating under an all-inclusive red diamond emblem) provide humanitarian aid and bring hope to those traumatised by conflict or disaster.
And here’s the thought:
Would we rather be remembered as someone who was successful in our careers, or someone who made the world a better place? If anyone remembers us in years to come, will it be for good or bad?
The New Testament mentions a Levite from Cyprus called Joseph. He wasn’t nearly as famous as Peter or Paul, but almost everything we read about him is good.
He sold some property and made the funds available to the Apostles for the support of the growing Church.
He was forgiving enough to welcome to the fellowship former persecutor Saul/Paul and courageous enough to recommend him to the leadership.
He was spiritual enough and broadminded enough to recognize the grace of God at work in new and unexpected ways in Antioch.
He was modest enough to recognize his own limitations and seek gifted teacher Paul to come and help build a missionary church there.
He was willing enough to serve as part of a travelling evangelistic team, even when Paul the theologian/preacher got more of the limelight.
Luke describes this humble, less-famous disciple like this:
‘He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.’ (Acts 11 v 24)
These things earned Joseph from Cyprus an affectionate nickname from the apostles.
They called him ‘Barnabas – Son of Encouragement’.
So what will people say about you and I in years to come?
That we were successful or otherwise in business? Will they even care?
Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could be remembered for somehow making the world better, and whether in the limelight or not, for being church builders and encouragers, through whom people come to Christ?
May the Lord help us make it so.