Hi, there how are ya? It’s been a long time
Seems like we’ve come a long way
My, but we learn so slow
And heroes, they come and they go
And leave us behind…as if we’re supposed to know why…-Joe Walsh
My heroes have always been cowboys…
and they still are today. -Willie Nelson
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word hero as “A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.”
There’s been a lot of talk in the media this week about what makes a hero. I’ve heard terms like “brave, unselfish, giving, courageous, sacrificing, etc.”
When I was a little girl, I loved Clint Eastwood. Okay, to be honest, I still do today. But he was my image of a hero. He was tough as nails, always stood up for the little guy and he always seemed to prevail, no matter the situation.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, in all races and can be male or female. What makes a hero depends largely on the impact they have on our individual lives. A teacher can be a hero to one child and just a teacher to another. It’s the same with people throughout history…it depends on your perspective.
As we approach the anniversary of 9-11, my mind goes back to the images and stories of that day. So much sacrifice, men and women moving towards danger, with no regard for their own safety. Giving their own lives to save the lives of strangers. Heroes, in every sense of the word. There are countless examples throughout the ages…want to find a hero? The history books are filled with them.
When my boys were little, they loved to listen to Bible stories. Some of their favorites were Noah, Jonah and David. Stories of a boat full of animals, a great big fish and a slingshot and giant…what’s not to love in a little boy’s mind?
But one day, when Craig was a teenager, he came to me and said, “Do you realize what Noah did AFTER the ark?” There was a tone of distain and in a stern voice, he began to tell me of Noah’s failings. (He was a future teacher in the making) I could almost hear a thump as Noah fell from the status of hero. Noah was unquestioningly an obedient servant…but he was human just the same.
When I looked up the word “hero” in the dictionary, there was one word that was noticeably missing from the list…the word “perfect.”
Perfect…to be without flaw or blemish. It’s a word we use every day. “The perfect cup of coffee” “The perfect combination of flavors” “The timing was perfect”.
But it’s not a word we use to describe people. Because none of us are. To be honest, very few have even come close.
This summer, St. Mary’s had a class on church history. I was reminded that Christ chose Peter to be the rock, the cornerstone of the church. But before AND after that moment, Peter was far from perfect. So why did Christ choose him?
Jesus asked who people were saying that he was. Some said John the Baptist, some said Jeremiah, some said a prophet.
But Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16)
For all his faults, Peter was a man of conviction. He knew who Christ was…in his mind, there was no doubt. Peter was perfect for the job…not a perfect person.
Men of faith, great men who did great deeds, were still just that…men. Women too. Human beings, with all our flaws and shortcomings. And no matter how good our intentions are, we all fail at one time or another.
Who are your heroes? What did they do to earn that respect from you?
Heroes give us hope that the world isn’t quite the uncaring place it can seem sometime. But just remember that they are human and therefore subject to failure like the rest of us. Only one is perfect…and that’s Christ.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a hero…and neither do those to whom you deem to be so. Lack of perfection didn’t keep Noah from building the ark…or Jonah from going to Nineveh.
Heroes deserve our respect. They deserve our admiration and esteem. What they don’t deserve and, in most cases, don’t want, is our worship. That is reserved for one…the One. Our Lord.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. -Psalm 100