As I listened to the music I reflected on the idea of heroism. I asked myself if I have ever done anything that I would call heroic. I had a hard time identifying anything that would qualify. I’ve done things that were difficult, to be sure. But heroic? I don’t think anything I’ve done would earn that label. In a lot of ways I have had a pretty easy life.
As I contemplated these things I got in touch again with the fact that in me there beats a heart that longs to be heroic. Somehow it feels like I was made to do something heroic. That idea calls to me. I suppose that could be just the little boy in me who dreams of glory and never completely grew up. But I suspect that desire lurks somewhere inside every single one of us. I don’t think I’m alone here, I think we all desire to be heroes in some way.
What might keep me from responding to that call to heroism? Since it requires a noble cause that is bigger than me, risk and sacrifice there are some very human tendencies that easily block it. Selfishness, fear and the desire for ease and comfort are heroism’s natural enemies. Giving up self for a bigger cause is a denial of selfishness. Sacrifice is at the other end of the spectrum from ease and comfort and fear always seeks to avoid risk. I suspect that few, if any, people set out to be heroes. My guess is that a real hero comes to care more about a particular cause than even his own safety and comfort, and that is what enables him to take the risk and make the sacrifice.
Is there something I can do that is heroic? I’m pretty sure I will never do anything that will win medals, garner headlines or make me a national hero. Perhaps doing the heroic will be an item on my bucket list that will never be accomplished, like playing a starring role in a championship game or watching the launch of a space shuttle. But I can live for a noble cause. I can take risk and sacrifice for that cause. By my definition that is heroic. I can live to further the kingdom of God. I can give up my selfishness to love my wife and my family, and perhaps if I do that I will be a hero to them. I can sacrifice and take the risk of loving other people in the name of Christ. That won’t win me a medal for valor, but maybe it will still be heroic in the eyes of our Lord, and that’s what really matters.