Why do so many of us always finding ourselves rooting for the underdog? In the movies, our novels and songs, and even in history throughout the ages the various forms of David and Goliath draw out our emotionally inherent cries of “YES!”
Not sure I can adequately answer that one, but I’m glad the halls of heroes are stacked with heralded names of venerable underdogs like Harry Truman and Abe Lincoln, to name a few.
Here’s another one that I’ve added to my list of favorites: Johann Gutenberg.
Most people know him as the Father of the Printing Press, or some related epithet. He is credited with being the printer of the first Bible. Time Magazine crowned him with their “Man of the Millennium” honor. Certainly in our day, he is held in high esteem, so one would think that he made a pretty big splash among his contemporaries of the late 15th century as well.
They didn’t have copyrights back then to protect inventors, so Mr. Gutenberg worked in secret, borrowing (way too much) money to forward his vision. In doing so, one of his main creditors repossessed the press and all it entailed, at which time one of his own students also jumped ship to join the opposing side, but not before Johann had printed a few things, including some of the most beautiful Bibles ever produced.
At the end of Gutenberg’s life, he died penniless, his name was soon forgotten and his contribution was overshadowed by those who capitalized on his financial demise. But….
(I love “but’s” in underdog stories. The Bible is full of them. Always pay attention whenever the Bible says “but”. That’s another essay…) But…
…according to author and scholar, Donald Brake, “the Gutenberg Bible is the most beautiful piece of printing art and the most valuable printed book in the world…The message of God’s Word in Latin—and within a few years in other languages too—and the format for its printing now made the Bible’s availability possible for all.” (1) (Emphasis mine.)
And if that’s not an impacting legacy, I don’t know what is.
Take home lesson: What we do now for God’s kingdom may be but a beginning that will change lives forever, albeit we may not live to see it happen. And that’s okay. It’s only my selfish impatience that wants to see it now, to see that what I’m doing is of worth. Our culture says that “seeing is believing”, and yet our Lord Jesus tells us that “blessed is he who believes prior to seeing.” (Poor Thomas, he kinda got slam-dunked on that encounter. But, again, for another story.)
Here’s the promise:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
So, when it seems like the chips are down and all the work seems to be going down the drain (pardon the mixed metaphors), remember the words of a somewhat famous, very-non-theologian:
“What? Me worry?” (3)
(1) Brake, Donald L., A Visual History of the Bible, Chapter 3
(3) Alfred E. Newman, Mad Magazine