We Need a Hero

February 16, 2012

The only responses to need are avoidance or heroism. A delayed hero, is no hero of all. I wonder how often heroism is simply too late.

In late 1864, not more than a half a year before the president was assassinated, another famous american actor, with the last name of Booth, made headlines because of someone named Lincoln. The actor was Edwin Booth, John Wilkes' brother, and the beneficiary of his actions was Robert Todd Lincoln, the presidents' son. It seems that Robert had been forced against a train car which had begun to move. The movement caused Robert to fall onto the train tracks in New York city. Edwin, acting on sheer impulse reached out quickly and grabbed young Robert by the collar and hoisted him back onto the loading platform in one continuous motion. The action saved Lincoln's life.

Heroism is an awkward thing. There are several critical components needed to be a hero. Just in case you have plans to become one, this is a great list to have in your pocket.
1. Crisis
2. Opportunity
3. Decisive and immediate action
4. A quick change costume
Actually, I added the last prerequisite on my own. I guess it just would feel more dramatic if the person saving you from certain tragedy is wearing spandex and a cape. I prefer the colors of purple and neon green. Being a hero in spandex does place a higher priority on working out. There is a strong motivation to stay fit if you know that the television crews are going to be filming and you are wearing skin tight spandex. That's why I might suggest the mask as well. In the long run, I decided to make number four optional. The other three are pretty certain.

Most of these elements are readily available. People everywhere are in crisis. There is poverty, illness, loneliness, depression, spiritual emptiness and moral desperation and an occasional beached whale. You don't need to write this one on your list because it is so prevalent.  The issue with need is what kind of hero are you designed to be? In other words, it is a good idea to know what you can rescue people from.

I am not that strong a swimmer. The realization of my limits will help me in not attempting to rescue someone who is drowning. The truth is that I believe each person has a “Heroes Skill Set”. Most people never take the time to determine what their skill set calls them to act upon.

The second necessary component is opportunity. Again, no problem there. I can have my pick of worthy causes. I can save the California Condor, end global warming, stop political corruption, help students read, deliver meals to the elderly, babysit for a new mom, stop to help a stranded motorist, fund a missionary, start a small group, dig a well in Africa, and anything else that needs to be done. The problem again is that I have not determined what God has asked me to do.

You and I have unique passions, concerns, abilities and resources. I always wondered how Superman determined who he would rescue and who would have to die. I think the choice could be debilitating for a hero. I can see Superman sitting on a couch paralyzed by the demands. Now he just sits and tries to figure out how to make the perfect decision. I think that was what the ice fortress was all about. Even Superman needs to chill. (I just cracked myself up).

The true mark of a hero is the third item on the list. A hero is bound by immediate, pressing and personal need. Drowning victims can't wait while we decide to act. That is fairly unfair of  crisis. It places demands on us. When New Orleans flooded, the need for support was pressing. There was no understanding when the process took too long. That's because people died waiting.

Just a thought. Spiritual need waits too. The call of  every believer is the same. Now is the appointed time. “What?” is the question that each believer is asked to answer for themselves.

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