Are You A Hero?

This Sunday I interacted with several heroes. Not the comic book kind that swing around on Spidey-ropes, let bullets ping off their chest, and speak in a low gravelly voice while flinging Bat-A-Rang’s at baddies. No, these were real heroes.

My first heroic encounter occurred as I pulled into the church parking lot. Despite the lip-chapping cold, I was greeted by smiling parking crew attendants. Nobody pays much attention to those on the parking crew, but they’re heroes.

I walked into the church and was greeted by a smiling man. His name tag informed me that he was a “greeter”. Hence the greeting. I didn’t know this guy and didn’t catch his name. But his pleasant smile and warm greeting made me feel welcome at the church. How long had he been standing there, smiling to each person that entered?

I was led in singing by a bunch of happy, nameless people. They weren’t in it for the glory of being on stage, and they certainly weren’t making any money out of the deal. I did know one guy, Dave, who has been on the worship team since around the Civil War. He’s always a happy servant, always smiling. He (like me), is probably adored by one person: his wife. But he’s a hero.

After worship all the children made their way to Children’s Ministry. Hundreds of little hearts being instructed in the ways of the Lord. Little noses being wiped, crying babies being held. Nobody watching, no applause. Mostly hard work. That’s true heroism.

In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus said:

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This past Sunday I was surrounded by true greatness. Two questions. Do we recognize true greatness? Do we pursue true greatness?

Originally published October, 2008

Comments

  1. says

    Around since the Civil War… that sounds about right for Dave :-)

    Wondering what true greatness looks like when you aren’t able to serve in a ministry in the church for a season. What would that personal ministry look like? Thoughts?

  2. says

    Agree with you, Stephen. Greatness is doing what God wants instead of what we want. Sometimes we want to be pastors and teachers and rockstar leaders, but God wants us to visit our Grandmother in a nursing home. Greatness is chosing what God wants.

  3. Kay McCoy says

    The following is actually a comment I posted in response to Mark’s post on the mundane before I read this one. God so often put things repeatedly in our path because he understands it sometimes takes us a few passes before we stop to smell the roses.

    Mark:

    Your post hits very close to home. How easy it can be to stand before a microphone and watch the loving, worshipful faces moved by the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us. How pleasing the kind words of the brethren in recognition of the gifts.

    How excruciatingly difficult it can be to clean up the mess of a loved one whether it be a child or an elderly family member. How painful when the kind deeds go unnoticed.

    Which is more blessed?

    Jesus said “take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.”
    Matt 11:29

    What would our modern, sanitary life be without the garbage man, the street sweeper, or the sewage treatment plant worker?

    Serving the Lord has a glamorous side for some. For most it is closer to washing feet or carrying our afflicted to the doctor.

    The old hymn rings true (written more than 1,200 years ago) “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise”. Jesus never sought the praise of men; rather he sought the praise of “The Holy Father” the great God in heaven. Oh, to be more like my wonderful counselor Jesus.

  4. says

    I work in children’s ministry, and I’ve gotta tell you, it’s often a thankless job. We don’t do it for the fame/glory/praise. But a genuine thank you from a person in leadership is always deeply appreciated. If pastors only knew how much a “thank you” from the heart really means, they would spend several hours a week calling or writing notes of encouragement. It’s so meaningful to know that someone notices the hard work that we do to honor God. Thanks for honoring the “quiet behind the scenes” people.

  5. Stephen Altrogge says

    Marshall – You hit that one on the head.

    Kay – Thanks for your insightful comments. It is so much easier to serve when other people see, yet how much more blessed to serve in private where only God sees.

    greenchickadee – You’re welcome. It’s the behind the scenes people that are truly great in God’s eyes!

    Nate – You bet. Didn’t you write a book about this?

  6. Madonna says

    Boy, oh, boy was I worried when I started reading this post!! You had me concerned about the chapped lips (it is still summer here Stephen), then when you did not recognize the greeters inside the church – Randy & Jerelene, Fred & I – my mind began to think you needed real HELP. Then, I read your post date and gave a loud sigh of relief. God is so good to remind me to stop making quick judgements – even to super-heros!

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