By Devin Root
One may think an individual cannot accomplish much for a country, thinking if he is not in power or office, he will not be effective, but as history has shown, this is not the case. One may believe an army, a wave of protests, or a surge of inventions is the only way to storm the gates of ignorance and open the eyes of a blind nation. Still, many single, ordinary people have done for their country what seemed impossible. These people changed their country for the better even though they were seemingly insignificant individuals. Some powerful ways in which individuals throughout history strengthened their country were through the spreading of ideas, the defense of ideals, and the spreading of the gospel.
One of the most influential idealists of America was Patrick Henry, who called for revolt against tyranny. Henry grew up working with enslaved people and was one of nine children. He was probably overlooked at times, but he helped preserve the country. Fredrick Douglass later fought for abolitionist ideas. Many Northerners thought formerly enslaved people were ignorant, but Douglass became one of America’s greatest orators. Douglass’s ideas helped form the civil rights movement and encouraged other abolitionists. We can open someone’s eyes to the truth by spreading biblical ideas, like these individuals before us have done in service to their country.
Many people have done the most crucial and challenging thing for their country: devote their lives to its defense. History is scattered with average individuals who helped their country on the battlefield despite their status. Joan of Arc, a French peasant, thought God had called her to lead the French against the tyrannical English. She went to defend France, but her male superiors scorned her ambition. Joan persisted and soon gained respect, becoming a revered general. She bravely defended the country’s borders, and her spirit stirred the French to victory. In America, Alvin York, a poor, hillbilly Tennessean, became the most decorated hero during the First World War. York had become a Christian and had first rejected fighting but later decided to serve after thought and prayer. His previous objection made him a target for jokes and tests, but York proved he was no coward and captured an entire German position.
Although it can be challenging, the most effective way to aid one’s country is by spreading the gospel. Martin Luther began changing Germany after God revealed the corruption to him. Luther fought against the Catholic Church and challenged the supremacy of the Pope. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses started the Reformation that spread across all of Europe. Luther was debated, called a fool, and almost killed, but he transformed his country, using the Bible’s truth that man is saved by faith alone. Later, Englishman William Tyndale began translating the Bible into English. Tyndale succeeded in spreading the Word until it reached commoners. As the country went from ignorance to awareness, officials arrested Tyndale. Tyndale’s famous last words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” After this, Henry VIII did see the Bible’s value and spread it abroad. Though they were common and often scorned, these men did more for their countries by spreading God’s Word than any emperor ever did.
One might be tempted to believe a single individual cannot aid a country, but history shows that one can. These people didn’t have to be powerful, popular, or political to achieve much for their country, and they didn’t need an army of supporters to guarantee a win. Though these few were all contested and likely doubted how they would contribute, they succeeded. Countries blossomed by their spreading of ideas, defending their country, and changing the culture by confessing Christ. We can also break through self-doubt about our insignificance and questions about our heritage and help our country, recognizing God as our leader.
Devin Root is a young man who is the product of a homeschool and Christian school education. Originally written in high school, this article is one of several he has written in high school and college, often promoting biblical views such as the sanctity of life and creation. Devin earned an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and is currently pursuing a political science degree while working as a student intern in the human resources department of an automotive component manufacturer.