To correlate with my review of Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White, the publisher was kind enough to send the historical information the book was based on here (read it here) and this small devotional:
We are a people of
technology. A people of opinions that are soon emailed, tweeted,
posted to our walls, and sent off into the ether for the whole world
to see. We are a people in a nation that has been shaken, shocked,
stirred, and divided. A nation of poles, where neither side can
understand the other. And yet when we see a wound in need of healing,
a change in need of making, all we know how to do is update our
status...and shrug. What else can we do? How can we effect actual
We don’t know.
And so we go about our lives and let the world keep on spinning
however it will. Then we wonder why we don’t like it’s direction.
This is a problem
most of us ponder today, and one with no easy answer. But you know,
sometimes answers aren't meant to be easy—and sometimes the
lessons we need, hard as they are, wait for us in the past.
In 1779, with the
Revolution dragging on and Patriot resources all but nonexistent,
George Washington looked out over the sea of weary soldiers and knew
he needed change. And so he sat at his desk, drew out a vial of
invisible ink he had dubbed “the sympathetic stain,” and penned a
message to the Culper Ring, his most trusted intelligencers. Then he
waited for a word of hope.
Who are these people in whom George Washington placed
his trust? They were not trained spies. They were not brilliant
strategists. They were not well-equipped scouts. One of them was a
farmer. One was a sailor. One was a shopkeeper in the British-held
city of New York. There was a soldier willing to make the treacherous
ride into the city, and an officer sworn to serve as liaison between
them and Washington. The farmer was sickly, the sailor was reckless,
the soldier was always late, and the shopkeeper suffered from “black
moods” that made him anxious. No super-spies here, no masterminds,
no action heroes. Just a motley collection of men willing to risk
their lives and reputation for their country. Men who chose to offer
what little they had, and in so doing turned the tide of the war.
Despite the image we
have of our forefathers rising up united to fight the British, it
wasn’t a unanimous decision to revolt. Half the citizens were
opposed to independence. And more, convinced that
there was no point in trying to secure it, because it was a lost
cause. And so they shrugged and went about their lives and wished
things could be different.
But our forefathers weren't content to leave it at
that in 1779, and we ought not be content to do so today.
Our role today, just as theirs was then, is to be
exactly where we are, where God has placed us, and to stand up. To be
an ordinary hero. One that does what should be done, not in the
crisis moment, but in the everyday.
I daresay everyone in the world is happy to do something
nice, something good...so long as they didn’t have to go out of
their way. Then we have those a step above, the genuinely good people
who want to help their neighbors, who run to help you with a door
when your hands are full. Who pick up the box you dropped. Who go out
of their way for you.
the ordinary hero—the ordinary hero doesn’t go out of their way
to help. Because helping is
their way. It’s a subtle but crucial difference, a vital change of
perspective. And just think what it could achieve if each and every
person stopped thinking about their
agenda, about their
needs and started seeking out opportunity to serve others. If they
actively sought, like the members of the Culper Ring did, chances to
People today are so busy with all our technology and
time-saving devices that, while it’s become easier to hear a call
to action, a call to prayer, and think it’s a good idea, we forget
to hit the “pause” button on our lives and do it. Still, there
are always a few who feel that tug inside so strongly they can’t
deny it. A few who fall to their knees. A few who stand up. A few who
risk all they have because they know if they don’t, that “all”
won’t be worth having anymore.
Who are the few today? Are we content to let it be
someone else, pray that someone else steps up...or are we willing to
fall to our knees and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me”? Send me
into my own life. Send my into my own day-to-day. And show me where
I will be the farmer I have always been, but I will use
it for You instead of myself. I will be the shopkeeper with the
nervous disorder, but I will put it aside and do what You ask of me.
I will make the difficult journey. I will stand up and be a hero
exactly where I am. Not for gain, not for advancement, not to escape
this place into which You have put me. But because I know that change doesn't start in the capital. It doesn't start in town hall. It doesn't even start in my church.
It starts in me.
Culpers risked a shameful death, a loss of all they had worked for,
to help their would-be nation. They got up each day not knowing what
they could do, and not knowing if the Redcoats might knock on their
door and put an end to it all. But they got up each day looking.
Looking for the chance to serve.Let’s all pray that the Lord opens our eyes to those
chances. Let’s not go out of our way, let’s make it our way.
Let’s be more than good people.
Let’s be ordinary heroes.