"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

A "Smugly" Signature?

With a story as special as the Declaration of Independence, heroic rumors spread from ear to ear. One of the most controversial rumors stems from John Hancock's "smugly" signature. Why was his signature so much bigger than everyone else's? Some historians quote Hancock saying, "...so fat old King George can read it without his spectacles." It's a neat story, but most likely, the truth is less dramatic.

History tells us that Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration, so it's possible that he didn't realize his fellow patriots would sign on a smaller scale. In addition, the National Archives explains why Hancock's signature is positioned front and center. They claim that the signatures were arranged by geographic location of the states each signer represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost state ended it. Hancock represented Massachusetts, explaining why his signature is towards the top of the document.


Regardless which "tale" we choose to believe, Hancock's signature gives us a veiled reminder for the Christian life. Jesus once said, "...the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16). Being the center of attention might give us the "glory" on earth, but that attention isn't worth missing the "glory" of Heaven!


We can't know for sure if Hancock was groaning for the glory when he signed the Declaration. His bravery earns our respect because he was the first to sign the document that could have cost him his life. But this we can know--when we sign our lives over to Christ, large, "eye-catching" letters aren't necessary!


When Jesus asks for our "John Hancock", all Jesus wants is our signature!