Harriet was a remarkable woman—especially when you consider the time in which she lived. In the early 1900s, she became a journalist, a profession that was largely in the hands of men. She moved to New York and became a theater critic. She also wrote screenplays for the movie industry still in its infancy.
Those accomplishments made her an unusual woman for her time—but then she visited an airshow. At that moment, her passion became aviation. It was 1910, and men had been flying for less than seven years.
But thanks to Harriet, it would no longer just be men flying. She was the first female to get a pilot’s license. She joined an exhibition team and traveled the country so people could see a woman in distinctive purple clothes fly one of those contraptions.
But that still wasn’t enough. She wanted to fly across the English Channel. That doesn’t seem like much to us—it’s only 31 miles—but a ’71 Pinto full of texting teenagers is probably safer and more reliable than planes were in 1909. So flying 31 miles over water in unpredictable weather was no easy feat, and Harriet Quimby wanted to be the first woman to make the trip.
They didn’t think a woman would have the strength and ability to do it. One of her consultants even volunteered to wear her purple suit and make the trip for her. Nothing doing. She would do it herself.
And she did. On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby made the trip from England to France. By anyone’s standards of the day, THIS WAS A REALLY BIG DEAL.
Yet the next day, when Harriet got up to read the newspaper accounts of her accomplishment, she found it buried in the back of newspapers. The Titanic had sunk the day before her flight, and every newspaper was still focused on the tragedy. Her feat went largely unnoticed.
But it was no less significant.
It’s the same for us. We are surrounded by people who get more notice. The spotlight just seems to gravitate to certain people. But we should not let that take away from the significance of what we do. When we seek to please God in whatever we do—however mundane the task may seem—we bring glory to Him. And that is significant.
Others may never notice the wonderful things you do, but God does.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Regardless of how God uses you—whether you speak to thousands each week, lead six senior adult ladies in a weekly Bible study, quietly serve for 30 years in the nursery loving on the children placed in your care, or pray for others while confined to your home—what you do matters. It matters for now and for eternity.
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, this life is not all there is. So what you do in this life matters. It may not appear heroic to others and it may not even be noticed by others, but your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
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