In 1885, a young boy named Joseph Meister was attacked and mauled by a rabid dog, thus contracting the dreaded rabies disease. At the time of this attack, the famed researcher, Louis Pasteur, was experimenting with a rabies vaccination for animals. He had successfully developed a vaccine that seemed to work on rabid dogs but it had never been applied to an infected human. Despairing and distraught, Meister’s family begged Pasteur to administer the vaccine to their boy. Reluctantly, and with understandable fear and anxiety, Pasteur complied, and astonishingly, the vaccine worked. Joseph Meister recovered.
Many years later, near the end of his life, Pasteur was asked what epitaph he would like engraved on his tombstone, and out of all of his mountainous accomplishments as the pioneer of immunology, he chose three simple words: Joseph Meister lived.
When studies and surveys from France rank France’s most influential historical figures, they routinely bypass Napoleon Bonaparte in favor of Louis Pasteur. Napoleon, for all of his greatness, served his own aims, whereas Pasteur served the people.
History always proves Jesus’ words true: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Mark 10:43).
Who are we serving? Who are we strengthening? Whose heart or faith will live because of our efforts? How are we beautifying and restoring our world? And what epitaph is being daily engraved onto our souls?