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One night in early August 1942 the USS Astoria was assisting in the landings on Guadalcanal when it was attacked by a Japanese cruiser. During the battle one of the Astoria’s turrets was hit resulting in a large explosion. This explosion swept 19-year-old Elgin Staples into the air and overboard into the ocean. His legs were wounded by shrapnel which made it very difficult, if not impossible for him to keep himself afloat. Fortunately, Staples was wearing an inflatable rubber life-belt and was later rescued by the USS Bagley, which brought him back to the Astoria. However, approximately six hours later the Astoria began to sink and Staples was forced back into the water still wearing his life belt. Yet, as a testament to our armed forces, Staples was rescued a second time by the USS President Jackson!

While he was aboard the President Jackson, he began to examine the life belt that saved his life, twice! To his surprise, it was manufactured in his hometown of Akron, Ohio by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He also noticed a set of numbers printed on the belt. After he was treated for his wounds he was given leave to return home and he took the belt with him.

Once home, he began to tell his family about his ordeal.

“After a quietly emotional welcome, I sat with my mother in our kitchen, telling her about my recent ordeal and hearing what had happened at home since I had gone away. My mother informed me that “to do her part,” she had gotten a wartime job at the Firestone plant. Surprised, I jumped up and grabbing my life belt from my duffel bag, put it on the table in front of her.

'Take a look at that, Mom,’ I said, ‘It was made right here in Akron, at your plant.’

She leaned forward and taking the rubber belt in her hands, she read the label. She had just heard the story and knew that in the darkness of that terrible night, it was this one piece of rubber that had saved my life. When she looked up at me, her mouth and her eyes were open wide with surprise. ‘Son, I’m an inspector at Firestone. This is my inspector number,’ she said, her voice hardly above a whisper.”

As an inspector, I bet Mrs. Staples inspected thousands of belts at the plant, not knowing if they would even be used or save anyone. Yet she remained faithful in her work. Her small part in the larger war effort saved at least one life and it just happened to be her own son’s!

Matthew 25:23 states, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

Sometimes little things can have a big impact. God knows this, but we don’t always see it. Often we focus on the major things in life and neglect the mundane. Sometimes we cut a few corners so we can complete a task to get to the bigger or more desirable one. However, as we can see from this story, God can use the small things to accomplish something remarkable. Stay faithful to what God has called you to do, even if you don’t see how He will use it.

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