A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Boca Raton Army Air Field (BRAAF). I had just learned about it from a historical marker at FAU, and found it not only interesting but insightful about our community. After church, a friend came up and told me she had written a book about it! She subsequently lent me a video about it, and boy! did that add to the little insight that I had gotten from the marker!
Boca Raton historians contend that the Allies winning World War II came about from our airfield here. Yep. They make that bold of a statement. The bomb in Hiroshima may have ended it, but it was won because of a little apparatus added to our planes called radar.
We think of radar as what the cops use to get us busted for speeding. And we think of microwave as what we heat up dinner with. But with British technology, MIT and other scientists in this country miniaturized the microwave radar technology to the point where they could be installed in an airplane. That airplane could then go and hunt German U-boats, who had been picking off ships along our coast here, and of course elsewhere. Germany lost 13% of their U-boat fleet in one month, and so they withdrew from our seas altogether! Pretty amazing. They couldn’t figure out how we could so easily figure out where they were!
There is a feeling here in Boca Raton that Boca is not properly recognized for its contribution to the war because the radar program remained classified for decades. The history of the BRAAF was unceremoniously released from secrecy long after the war was over and the images of Hiroshima and Normandy and a soldier kissing a nurse in NY had taken over our collective remembrances of the end of the war.
Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you ever felt like you contributed to a project and others got the credit? Whether it was money, or intellectual property, or time, you put yourself into something just for somebody else to get credit, or maybe just to be taken for granted? I have. Whether in my youth, or adulthood, these things happen.
What do you do when that happens? Well, you forgive for one thing. I don’t think we should forget them however, because those are experiences that can help us make sure we give credit where credit is due—not letting others be overlooked as we might have.
But also, when we do good for others, I think we can cash in on the credit in two ways. We can get
recognized here, or we can get recognized later by God. Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, said: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Just before that statement He said that if people recognize what you have done, you’ve gotten your reward right then and there.
So where do you want credit? Honestly? It feels good to be recognized! It’s nice to be noticed and thanked. But then the motivation becomes the good feeling derived from the action, rather than the need itself, or the person themselves.
All those airmen who couldn’t talk about what they did for decades and decades had to live with the satisfaction that they drove the Germans away, that they succeeded in repelling the advance of an evil dictator, and that they had inflicted a mortal blow on one of the biggest wrongs of human history.
Whether it be in the theater of war, or the drama of daily life, doing good is its own reward. Knowing that our Heavenly Father watches is just a bonus. The Giver of Life, and the One who enables us to do good, watches over us—and occasionally smiles with delight when we reflect back His character. Someday we will see that smile. That is reward enough.
Grateful for the blessings.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1