By Stephen Leonard
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16
Notoriety is not really a thing for most of us. Public figures become popularly known for any number of “trivial” reasons: sports, entertainment, politics, media, wealth, famous works, etc. Does the world know your name? How many people not family or friends can pick you out of a vast public lineup saying, “Oh, yeah, I know who that is!” And yet I, in my old age, forget even some of the names of my once-close friends just because we haven’t talked for a long while.
Easily, most of us are a needle in a haystack consisting of a whole-world population from Eden to the Last Trump. On the other hand, we hear of some notorious folk who demand of some odd person who doesn’t kowtow to their alleged notoriety, “Do you know who I am?” they say. Or, “Do you have any idea who you are talking to?” Most of us do not have to worry about asking anyone such a rude, arrogant question.
Have you ever wondered if notorious people here who make it to heaven will be prominent there? Does notoriety cling to one interminably even after death? Will Abraham Lincoln or Babe Ruth attract swooning followers beyond the grave?
Or, if we are all not on an equal footing in heaven, will the “truly notorious” people from this life’s battle, people you may not have even known of, those notable essentially for their remarkable likeness to Christ in heart, spirit, and life, will these be the truly “notorious ones” in heaven?
Not popularly notorious in this life, but well known on earth by the angels in heaven, well recognized by the Lord as obedient to His every word, one who always persevered in loving the Lord Jesus Christ, painstaking in continually being filled with the Spirit, always fervent in faithful worship of God; such a one may well not be known by you or this world, but these are known in heaven.
Besides Prophets and Apostles, are there Saints among us Saints who will stand out from among the innumerable number of the inhabitants of eternity? I dare say that the Saints of the earth may be rewarded among the Saints of heaven and on the new earth.
But how that is done and the manner in which the Lord recognizes such lies in His heart alone. And most possibly knowing one pleased the Lord will be the only and best reward required for one who was persistently obedient to his Master.
I, for one, will be thrilled to fill the very last, even, final chair at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Won’t you?
Notoriety on earth is not nearly all it is cracked up to be. What to strive for with all of your being is to be pleasing to God alone, engraved on the palms of the Lord’s hands, to be actually known and personally loved by Him. Nothing else counts!
“We have not known thee as we ought, nor learned thy wisdom, grace, and pow’r; the things of earth have filled our thought and trifles of the passing hour. Lord, give us light Thy truth to see, and make us wise in knowing thee.”
(1st verse of Thomas Benson Pollock’s hymn, “We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought,” 1889)