The Real Heroes

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The longer I live and the more I see the confusion and corruption in this world, I find great comfort in what the wise man said in Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.” How true! I can’t tell you how many times I have been blessed and encouraged by hearing and thinking about the righteous deeds of so many who have been such a blessing often times in such silent ways. Oh how we have real heroes in the kingdom (both ancient and modern), who are worthy of our remembrance; worthy of our respect.

Heroes…everyone has them. They change over time; they improve as we better ourselves; they come in all shapes and sizes, but make no mistake about it, we have our heroes.

And, who we make our hero will largely be determined by what we value. You see, because I’m a sports enthusiast, my heroes when I was a kid were those athletes that were the best of the best. I remember those days on our driveway shooting jump shots from the corner and pretending I was Larry Bird. It seems only a short time ago that I slipped on my high tops hoping these would be the ones that would make me jump like Michael Jordan. My life as a kid was centered around sports and so my heroes were the ones I thought were the best of the best. I wanted to be like them. And, to be quite honest, they were my heroes because they had what I wanted. I wanted to excel as they had excelled. I wanted the talent they had and the ability to do what they could do better than most others. I dreamed of a day when I would take their place and have people depending on me, looking to me to “come through in the clutch.”

But, as I stated earlier, our heroes change! When life changes and more importantly you change, your heroes change. Your heroes change because who and what you value changes. While I still am a sports enthusiast, my life does not revolve around basketball. While I have an appreciation for those athletes that have a gift few possess, that’s not the talent I treasure. Yes, I have heroes, but they’ve changed. I’ve changed.

Who are my heroes? Who do I look up to? My heroes are those who say “yes” to what is right, when most follow the path of least resistance. It’s the people who keep their promise, even when it hurts and is hard. It’s the humble who have time for the little people, and who notice and value the day of small things. My heroes are those who refuse fame and fortune in order to put their family and their God ahead of themselves. They’re not controlled by “the praise of men” or corrupted by success that’s measured by a secular standard. Clearly, they’ve invested their time in who and what is eternal and are content to leave future results and rewards to He who alone is righteous. And those who face adversity in faith; who praise God even in the storm, these for sure are my heroes!

I’ve seen them lately; I know them well. I preach to many of them on a weekly basis. They refuse to quit; refuse to complain; refuse to blame others. They keep loving, living and learning, knowing that God sees and takes notice, and will do the right thing at just the right time.

If you stop and think about it, we have some heroic people among God’s people, both in this country and others abroad. Men and women (young and old) whose faith can be followed, and whose life should be remembered. So, when you think nobody is looking; nobody is learning; nobody is empowered and encouraged by your silent example and steadfast devotion to duty, remember…God doesn’t just use the preacher to preach or a shepherd to lead. He uses your faithfulness and fruitfulness to strengthen and sustain others. He uses your generosity and hospitality to teach and train the next generation.

Now, I know, and you know, that all people have feet of clay. The best of people with the best of intentions will fall short at times. But, let’s not kid ourselves. We are living in a world today where villains are portrayed as victims, and the real heroes are reviled and even subjected to hostility. Truly, it’s an upside down world! But, God said such would be the case. And it’s nothing new when we find ourselves surrounded by people who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (Isa.5:20-21). The worldly wise and the outright ungodly of our day will always be confused and willfully wrong when it comes to who and what is to be deemed heroic! So, let’s not allow such deception and degradation to rob us of the great value and blessing of remembering and respecting the real heroes (both ancient and modern). Oh, how the memory of the righteous is a blessing!

-Paul White

paullwhite@gmail.com