READ:  James 1: 22-25


“… inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren,

  ye have done it unto me.”   Matthew 25:40  (KJV)


Suppose as you entered church next Sunday you wppere handed a list of names of individuals mentioned in the Bible and asked to identify each of them.  How would you do?  Let’s see:  David; Herod; Peter; Paul; Martha; Goliath; Moses; Noah; Jonah – How is it going, any problem so far?  Let’s try a few others:  Zechariah, Onesiphorous and Ebedmelech.  The last three names might not be too familiar to you but each played a special role in a biblical account.


          Zechariah as recorded in his book provided needed moral support    for the rebuilding of the Temple when the exiles were ready to give up.  Onesiphorous (II Timothy 1: 14-16) stands out as a person who offered help to someone other people scorned, avoided or ignored.  Paul writes that Onesiphorous was neither ashamed of Paul’s chains nor ashamed to be associated with someone who had been imprisoned for his faith.  Who was Ebedmelech?   He (Jeremiah 38:11-14) secured old rags and worn out clothes to cushion under Jeremiah’s arms as they pulled him up out of the cistern.


As we enter the world of the Bible it is amazing how many people one meets that are not well known.  As we meet these people we can observe God working through them to perform needed acts of kindness and see the promise of how God can and will work through us.


The account of Zechariah and his encouraging prompted me to consider how God uses other people to buoy me up.   The quiet words either spoken or communicated through touch are messages from Him that all will be okay.  He through others often speaks to each of us and grants us acceptance and peace.


One of the great stories in baseball is about an Onesiphorous.  However, his real name was Pee Wee Reese.  He was a short-stop for the Brooklyn Dodgers when Jackie Robinson was promoted to that team and became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues.  Every day Robinson was the target of all kinds of racial slurs.   Fans would yell racial epithets.  Frequently, even his own teammates would join in.  One day when the Dodgers were in Cincinnati and the Dodgers went onto the field, the fans were screaming their malign slurs; Pee Wee Reese made his move.  He went over from his position of short-stop and stood next to Jackie Robinson at his second base’s position and Pee Wee Reese put his arm over Robinson’s shoulders.  His caring gesture quieted the crowd at least for a while.


I, personally, have seen “Ebedmelech” at work several times lately.  One member of our church has a fifty year-old disabled son.  Although he lives four blocks from the church, he pushes his son there in his wheel chair so that there is an extra parking place in our often-overcrowded church parking lot.   “Ebedmelech” does not confine his activities to church situations.  I witnessed him while we were waiting in line to be seated at a local restaurant.  An elderly lady with a walker was having difficulty getting seated at her table.  “Ebedmelech” quietly walked over and seated her, folded up her walker and returned to the waiting line.


I doubt whether these modern-day Zechariahs, Onesiphorous, and Ebedmelech will ever receive much public recognition and not many people will even recognize their names.  However, I am confident that their kind and loving deeds are recorded in His book of Life as will be our own if we follow their examples.