Once upon a time my heroes lived far away from me. They were great baseball players, and, without exception, they wore the red and white of the Cincinnati Reds…like Vada Pinson, Wally Post, or Frank Robinson. I only saw those men play once or twice in person. They were my heroes.
Then there came a day when a hero was defined for me by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ literary character of Tarzan. But, of course, Tarzan only existed in my imagination, and I moved on.
As I grew up in the church I saw that preachers commanded a lot of attention. Those who were particularly talented speakers rose to the level of hero for me. I only got to be near them at various lectureships, and they became my heroes.
However my ideas about heroes have changed as I have aged. I have discovered that it is my privilege to live among heroes. Oh no, the world does not acknowledge them as such. I used to be among that number. Not anymore.
Let me describe some of them to you. There was the widow lady who drove thirty miles alone, in all kinds of weather, day or night, to worship her Lord for as many years as physical health would permit. She is my hero.
Another was the frail old brother whose hands and legs were severely crippled and distorted by arthritis. Pain was his constant companion. Every night he lay down with it, and every morning he arose, slowly, with it. Yet he never lost his smile, nor his faith. He always asked me to read Scripture and lead prayer. He was the same until the day he went Home . Now he lives painfree. His portrait hangs in the hall of heroes in my heart.
Then let me tell you about the finest evangelist I ever knew personally. He is not a paid staff member. He is not a pro. He didn’t attend any schools except that of Jesus Christ. He always has a kind and loving eye out for others with whom to share the Story. He keeps the dream alive in me and many others. He is a hero to me.
Another story involves a once young mother, who brought her children regularly to church without the help of a believing spouse. In spite of all her efforts, prayers, and hopes, as the children grew, they didn’t share her faith. Now…alone…she still goes regularly to the house of worship. She won’t quit believing. She won’t quit hoping and praying for her family. She won’t quit being one of my heroes either.
Another case is that of a teenager who isn’t afraid to let others know, without a show, that he is a Christian. And that fact determines his behavior in and out of school. I see the courage of a hero in him.
My heroes, even though burdened with their own troubles, see to the needs of others…they pray without ceasing…they look with eyes of love, listen with ears of love and speak with tones of love. My heroes would be terribly embarrassed to have the word hero attached to them, but I can’t help it. You are my heroes, because your faith calls me onward toward our Lord.