God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. —Hebrews 6:10
Part of the sacrifice of being today's servant of Christ is that vindication usually comes tomorrow, possibly after we are in heaven. Partly what made those in Hebrews 11 "today's" servants in their day was that they were willing to have the fruits of their labors borne by a successive generation. "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Heb. 11:39-40).
Peter reminded his readers that, as for the prophets of the Old Testament, "it was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things" (1 Pet. 1:12).
This is an example when those with the Lord continue to be today's men and women. Those Hebrew Christians who did not succumb to the pressures of their day would never be forgotten.
We are all guilty of thinking of ourselves and how we will be remembered. But the irony of church history is that those who prepared most for tomorrow's church were the most remembered; those who wanted to build their own empires became yesterday's men and women while they were still alive—and hardly remembered afterwards.
The late President Ronald Reagan kept a little plaque on his desk that read, "There is no limit to how far one can go as long as he doesn't care who gets the credit." That to me is profound. If you and I can bring that into our own lives, I suspect it would make a considerable difference—not only in our usefulness, but also in how we are remembered. It would mean wanting, first of all, the honor that comes from God only, then to affirm His servants, no matter who they are. That is the challenge of being today's man or woman.
Excerpted from The Anointing: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Charisma House, 2003).