If I had to guess, I’d bet you don’t know the name Maurice Hilleman. Even though you’ve never heard of him, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re here today because of him.

Dr. Hilleman (1919-2005) was an American microbiologist who is credited with saving more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century. He received the Distinguished Service Medal from the military and the National Medal of Science from President Reagan.  He is the developer of over 36 vaccines. Of the 14 immunizations recommended for all people living in the United States, he developed eight: measles, mumps, hepatitis A, B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, and haemophilus influenza.

After he died, a politician wrote, “Almost no one knew about him, saw him on television, or read about him in newspapers or magazines. His anonymity, in comparison with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Jose Canseco, or an assortment of grade B actors, tells something about our society’s and media’s concepts of celebrity; much less of the heroic.”

His story goes to show that sometimes the most important work is the least visible. The things we depend on most might be the things we recognize least.

What would happen if all of our sewers quit working? What would the hospital be like if no one did the laundry?

So much crucial, eternity-changing work is done anonymously, behind the scenes. Disaster Relief has a large banner that says, “It’s amazing what can be accomplished if nobody cares who gets the credit.” Someone else once said that the true test of a servant’s heart is how he responds when he’s treated like one!

Don’t be afraid of going unrecognized. Don’t be afraid of dirty work. Don’t be afraid of hard work. “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:24)