"I KNEW YOU'D COME."
An old boy Scout manual told the story of two brothers who were fighting side by side in France. The brothers struggled to rejoin their unit, but only one made it back safely. He approached his commanding officer and asked permission to retrace his steps in an effort to find his brother.
The officer shook his head. "It's too dangerous," he said, not without pity. "Your brother is probably dead, and there's no use risking your life just to find him dead."
The brother persisted, however, and begged the officer to let him try. Finally, the man agreed, and the soldier dashed back toward the enemy fire to hunt for his brother. Some time later, he returned-with his brother draped across his shoulders. But just as he reached the safety of the bunker, his brother gasped and died in his arms.
"You see," said the officer. He clapped a hand on the soldier's shoulder and shook his head. "I let you risk your life for nothing."
"Oh no, sir," the brother answered respectfully. Tears welled in his eyes. "No, sir," he repeated emphatically. "You see, when I crawled up beside him where he lay, hurt and dying, and I took him in my arms, he said, 'I knew you'd come, Tom. I knew you'd come.'"
That soldier's faithfulness was rewarded by his brother's dying words. Can you imagine how Tom felt to know that his brother's last words were a testimony to his faithfulness?
Don't forget, "The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness" (1 Samuel 26:23, NIV). Your faithfulness may be rewarded immediately and it may not. You may see the results of your faithfulness to a friend or family member in this lifetime, and you may not. But faithfulness is often its own reward, as it was for Tom.
REFLECT: What do you think would have happened if Tom had not gone to look for his brother? Do you think Tom would have known of the blessing he had missed? Do you think you have missed any blessings by not being faithful to a friend or family member? Have you experienced any rewards for your faithfulness? If so, what?
ACT: Be alert this week for a chance to be faithful to a friend or family member, especially "in time of need" as Proverbs 17:17 stresses.
PRAY: "Lord, I don't want to miss the rewards and blessings you give for faithfulness."