I have spent the last several weeks doing research on famous preachers from days gone by. I have been reading sermons from men like John Wesley and biographies on Calvin and Knox. Great heroes of the Christian faith have left behind them legacies, lessons, and landmarks for instruction and guidance to this and to future generations.
My heart has been stirred to new depths of personal devotion as I have read about William Tyndale, a man who translated the scriptures from Latin into English and subsequently published the Bible in the common language of the British Empire. Although this seems like no great feat to us today, He was persecuted and ultimately martyred for his cause of making God’s Word available to the masses and the average man.
History is replete with examples of people in all arenas of life who overcame hardships to carry their message, withstood opposition for the cause they deemed worthwhile, and suffered personal loss for the advancement of a greater good. Efforts of heroes from earlier generations secure the blessings that the future generations will enjoy.
I have often heard the old adage that we come into this world naked. Although we do arrive into the world unclad and empty-handed, we do not arrive into an empty world. Some caregiver is there to feed and diaper us; a family unit awaits to impart identity and self-worth; teachers stand prepared to transfer knowledge and wisdom; and society is saturated with a worldview with which to inundate and inculcate us. The naked child becomes clothed with the sacrifice of others.
The veracity of this truth places an enormous burden upon each generation to lay up that which is worthy to be transferred. The Bible, using a metaphor to communicate this reality, tells us to build with materials like gold or silver that will endure rather than products like wood or hay that will burn. What we build will be tested. Temporary solutions may look like answers in the short run but, as the scripture suggests, are unstable building blocks. That which is temporary will wear out or burn up. Solutions good for today without thought of repercussions on tomorrow are dangerous.
What will be our cultural condition when we reach tomorrow if we find no present, modern-day heroes? What problems await our society if all the pop idols go for the gusto while destroying family values, demonstrate that lasciviousness is the accepted norm, and showcase vulgarity and immorality as the pathway to freedom? If we continue to strip society of all values, with what will we clothe our children?
I am personally appreciative to the soldiers who wage war for the cause of freedom and for the media that tell their stories. My children will be indebted to the politicians and broadcasters who continue to fight for freedom of faith and personal liberties. Our heirs will be thankful to all champions that come forth, whether from the preacher’s pulpit, the teacher’s desk, the CEO’s chair, the judge’s bench, the laborer’s union, the entertainer’s art, or the parent’s lifestyle.
My prayer is that present-day saints will live in the same manner as past-day saints who were willing to sacrifice comfort, convenience and even popularity to proclaim enduring truths. May we build an abiding house of honor and stand ready with garments of truth to clothe the generation that shall follow after us.