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On February 19, 1942 at 10:00 in the morning the Japanese military bombed Darwin , Australia. After the bombing raid was over a young airman named Percy Westcott came out to assess the damage. In the midst of some of the rubble Percy heard a whimpering and discovered six month old puppy trapped. He pulled the young dog out and discovered that he had a broken leg. He immediately took the pup to the medics to get the dogs leg set. The medic told Percy that he only worked on men with names and serial numbers. Percy quickly responded this is gunner, and his serial number is 000 .
Percy adopted Gunner and he nursed him back to health. One day Gunner began to become restless and bark constantly. He repeated this for over 20 minutes. Then the base was rocked by another Japanese bombing raid. Percy noticed this repeated, every time the Japanese sent a bombing raid, Gunner would start barking well before radar picked up the incoming aircraft. Percy reported this to his superiors, and they decided to test it out. Sure enough the next time the Japanese sent a bombing raid, Gunner warned them more than 20 minutes before they arrived. They were able to man their aircraft and take cover. Gunner had saved lives.
Over the years Gunner sounded the alarm and saved thousands of lives. He an amazing dog. He could differentiate between the Japanese aircraft, and Allied aircraft. He was perfectly calm when all other aircraft were approaching, but he immediately knew when he heard Japanese plains coming in and would sound the alarm.
As I read about Gunner and Percy, I thought about the beauty of doing the job that is right in front of you. If Percy had ignored the whimpering of Gunner, thousands more would have died in bombing raids. Percy however took care of the job that was in front of him. He wasn’t seeking fame or glory, just wanted to do the right thing.
It reminds me of one of my favorite characters in scripture. We all love reading about the miraculous things in scripture, and even dream of being like Moses, David, or Simon Peter. We want the glory, we want the recognition, but one of my favorite characters was completely content doing the job that was in front of him. He didn’t complain about being in the background, or not getting recognition. Andrew, the apostle who had to be mentioned, as Simon Peter’s brother, rarely was in the forefront. He was not someone who personally brought multitudes to Christ, he brought individuals. Consider this though, there never would have been a Simon Peter, if there hadn’t been an Andrew. Andrew introduced him to Christ. Throughout his life Andrew brought individuals to Christ. We never read about powerful sermons, or throngs of people responding to one of his messages. No, but the only time Andrew is mentioned alone in scripture is because he was doing something honorable. Andrew was the apostle who understood the value of personal ministry.
All too often people are discouraged because the serve Christ in relative anonymity. They don’t get asked to speak at large venues, or aren’t asked to publish books, or write articles. These are wonderful things, but the real fruit of ministering to others comes from doing the individual work.
So be like Gunner and Percy. Do what is in front of you, and who knows God may use your work to bring thousands to safety. To quote John Macarthur ” Andrew’s legacy is the example he left to show us that in effective ministry it’s often the little things that count-the individual people, the insignificant gifts, and the inconspicuous service. God delights in such things.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ” but God chose the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence.”