HEROES - Always Make Me Cry
Recently I watched the ending of the movie Apollo Thirteen. How many times have I seen this story of great human endeavor and escape? More than a dozen times, and yet my eyes dampen and heart swells each occasion I see the parachutes open and know that three daring astronauts, our heroes, have survived their trial. That’s only one example. There are many other movies that affect me the same. I love heroes and heroic tales. They inspire me to want to perform heroic acts. Did I say that I really love heroes? Perhaps you do as well.
Well there’s Hollywood, and then there’s life, yours and mine. Someone once said, “We all walk on bridges built by others.” Who are your heroes? Who built the bridges you walk on to cross life’s fast moving troubled waters. Was it your Mother? Your Father? Perhaps a good Christian who took an interest in you, chose you as a friend to care for, to inspire, and to influence? Looking back on my life, especially when I was young and too often in need of a guiding hand, or a stern lecture, or an example to follow, there are several who stand out, my champions. Who are your heroes?
In this season of holidays, we often reflect on our lives, the blessings that make our life rich. And we consider hopes and dreams for the coming New Year ! In my business life, the end of the year was spent in measuring accomplishments…and failures. Should we not do the same for our spiritual life, for our service to God? So, let me help guide your thoughts for a moment or two from earthly endeavors and to the spiritual. Have you considered what God would have you achieve in 2016? What does God tell us about tomorrow?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James 4
We customarily this time of year make resolutions, set objectives for the New Year. Can you recall examples of God’s servants setting goals, making plans for their future? How about Daniel? Many years ago he considered what lay ahead and set a plan in his mind for how he would act.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1
On a practical basis, I have found this process of goal setting becomes easier, the choices more vibrant, if I pattern my objectives and choose life’s paths based upon my heroes of faith. I borrow from those who have gone before me, who lived their life well in service to God, who failed but overcame disappointment to serve our Lord. We read of such in Hebrews. These heroes lived by faith, they proved it can be done, and if they did… then so can we!
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Hebrews 11
And still perhaps we need look even closer for our heroes, those who we know and still see, and other Christians we have known who are now with our Lord. The past few years we have lost a number of beloved faithful Christians from our midst, each a hero, an example to inspire us, and someone to emulate in our own lives. Our heroes of faith live on within us. They are gone, but they still live in our minds and in our hearts. The saints who came before us still speak to us today with lives lived in faith and service to the Lord. Will we listen? They did it. So can we!
And what of us? The opportunity is presented to each generation to become heroes of faith for those who come after. Today belongs to us; tomorrow belongs to those who live on. We may not wear war medals nor have a heroic story to share, but for those who serve in God’s vineyard, who raise a child, lift a brother, care for a sister, or who love a spouse, the opportunity calls. Eyes are watching, both young and old. We are in the arena. Will we strive valiantly or be with the cold and timid souls who never try? How will we be remembered? Whose hero will we be?
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Philippians 3
Danny Earl Pickett