The Christian Almanac records that November 11 is remembered in the Christian Church as Martinmas in honor of Martin of Tours, a faithful bishop who was martyred on this day in 397 as well as Martin of Umbria who was also martyred on this day in 655. Both men endured great suffering, persecution, and personal humiliation for the sake of the gospel. According to legend, Martin of Tours once cut his own coat in half and shared it with a beggar. Apparently that part of his coat was later saved and preserved as a holy relic in France and even carried into battle by some kings. The cloak was later kept in a “chapelle” after the French word “chape” which meant “cape”. The man in charge of the chappelle was the “chapelain”. Of course we get the words “chapel” and “chaplain” from these happy occurrences.
Even this somewhat quaint story illustrates the significance of little acts of faithfulness. A coat for a beggar, speaking the truth, confessing sin or whatever other little act of obedience God may call us to is part of the great story of redemption. We now use the words chapel and chaplain throughout the world as a result of one man’s charity, and one day the world will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea as the result of the grace of God working in the lives of countless millions.