John’s work was important work. He did his part in preparing the way for Jesus. He planted ideas. He did his work with an eye to the future and with a spirit of humility. And if we read the rest of John’s story, we know he suffered greatly for it. That’s what forerunners do. They plant seeds and pave the way. They take tiny steps forward and often pay the greatest price. When we think about progress in terms of human rights, technology, or any other arena, we can usually name some of the forerunners that have led us to where we are.
Behind the names we know, though, are countless others whose names we have never heard. These are the parents who nurtured a spirit of curiosity or a sense of fairness or a capacity for speaking truth to power. These are the teachers whose standards and expectations brought out the best in their students. These are the employers who took a chance on someone and gave them the space to learn from failures as much as successes. These are the behind-the-scenes planners. These are the ground breakers and the ground layers.
Today, say a prayer of thanksgiving for those who have humbly paved the way for you. Extra credit: research some of the unsung forerunners in an issue or topic of interest to you. What impact did they have? How did they affect the direction of this issue or topic?