Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” (Romans 15:1-2, The Message)
What is a hero? The dictionary defines hero as another term for a submarine sandwich. Or, alternatively, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
We need more heroes in this day and age (the latter kind, not the former). But I don’t really like the definition above. Our heroes, of course, are noble and brave. But what sets them apart from non-heroes is the emphasis on their actions. They might be swearing an oath to protect our nation from enemies, foreign or domestic, or keeping their seats on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. But their actions are what set them apart and make them heroic.
But we also might want to add to our definition something of Paul’s description above: Heroes are altruistic: They help others.
Now, put all that together: courage (faith), noble character, concern for neighbor, and action. You’ve defined a Christian. Jesus didn’t just save us from our sins, he saved us to a life of heroism!
Recently I’ve been reading in the Bible about Elijah and Elisha. I call them action heroes. Both arrived on the scene at a very difficult time in Israel’s history. Both were prophets. But neither one of them preached sermons (like Jeremiah) or wrote books in the Bible (like Isaiah). Their faith-filled actions were their sermons. The miracles they performed were their lessons.
It reminds me of the old saying: “Preach the gospel always. Use words if necessary.” You don’t have to be a preacher or a teacher. All you need to be an action hero is to have the faith to live out your Christianity for the world to see.
You just need a big God!
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www.NewLifeDenton.org for more information.