He Still Speaks Even Though Dead
In our youth, we dream grandiose dreams. We believed that we would marry the “prince or princess of our dreams” (depending on which gender we are—and we knew which gender we were in those days!), have perfect children, an outstanding job paying all the money we needed to live and still have some left over, and lots of pleasures with few problems. We may even have believed that we would change the world in our generation for the positive. We were confident that where our predecessors had failed to do away with crime, spiritual lostness, war, poverty, bias, hatred, and all the other ills that have plagued us, we would somehow find the solutions to bring about Utopia on earth. How very zealous but lacking in knowledge we were!
Many people do provide tremendous contributions to making the world a better place in their sphere of influence. Some have done so through careers in teaching, medical care, construction, business, politics, and in ministry just to name a few. Truthfully, each of us is either contributing to the well-being of our cities or we are coasting on the benefits provided by others. We have one lifetime to invest. We are given gifts and opportunities to use profitably. And, we either press through obstacles and opposition to make things better or we one day regret that we did not do more.
The passion to make a difference for the benefit of others is the primary motivation of the truly great achievers. A school teacher enters a classroom day after day for the academic good of those students under his/her tutelage for one year. Doctors listen daily to the physical complaints of the sick to get them help toward healing. Great men and women of history were driven to make life-changing contributions because of a need in society that was going unmet and that they could not abide. So, like Isaiah of old, they stepped up and said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Shortly before the Civil War a young lawyer came down from Vermont and settled in Adams County, Pennsylvania. There he saw the fugitive slaves escaping from bondage, and as a conductor on the Underground Railroad he helped them to liberty. The urgency of the thing entered his soul and he gave himself with all his powers to combat that evil and to deliver all oppressed. When the great crisis of war, to which all those events were pointing, had broken over the nation, Thaddeus Stephens was perhaps the most powerful influence in the government of the United States.
The most prominent Radical Republican in Congress during Reconstruction, Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868) was born and educated in New England. … As floor leader of House Republicans, he helped to shepherd Reconstruction legislation through Congress, although he thought much of it too moderate. He focused much of his political attention on civil rights, eventually helping to draft the 14th Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declared that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens including African Americans. ((This paragraph is taken from Wikipedia).
When he came to die, his only attendants were two African- American preachers. Today in the very midst of Lancaster, PA, in a shabby cemetery, you can see his tomb, and on the tomb these words: “Finding that other cemeteries were restricted as to race by charter rights, I have chosen to lie in this humble spot, in order that I might testify, even in my death, to those principles which I have advocated through a long life.” (Copied).