Are the Great Heroes All Dead?

Are the Great Heroes All Dead?

"He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.”—John 14.12

Most of the heroes we read about are dead. Their spirit, their courage, and their thrilling exploits live on. We read about them, but they themselves are no longer with us.

Name them off—Roland, the great Frank who died at the hand of the Saracens; St. George of England, who slew the dragon; Beowulf, who conquered the evil Grendel; Hector of Troy; Ulysses the Greek; David, the shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath; the apostle Paul, who died in Rome for Jesus Christ; George Washington, the father of our country; Robert Scott, who died in the bleak Antarctic returning from the South Pole; Magellan, who commanded the first ships to circle the earth but who died in the Philippines.

I could name dozens and dozens of others you'd recognize instantly and whose exploits thrill us still after all these years.

But are all the great heroes dead? No, some haven't even been born yet. And many haven't grown up. Right now some future hero is five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen years old or older. Today some future hero who will do great things for mankind is in kindergarten.

Heroes of the future will be different from those in the past. At least in some ways. But the same qualities of daring, imagination, and adventure will be required. The frontiers to conquer may be of a different kind, perhaps harder.

For example, one dangerous frontier right now is this: How shall the different races of men live in peace and learn to love one another? Dr. Martin Luther King, a Negro Baptist minister in Montgomery, Alabama, is a hero on this racial frontier. When men hated him, he loved them. When he had good reason for striking back in a tense situation, he did not.

Another great frontier is world peace. How can the different nations live on this earth without war? We know that another great war will destroy us all. What heroes of peace can have the wisdom to help prevent war? Perhaps the answer will be not one or two great heroes, but many millions of unknown people praying to God and working for peace.

The frontier of science will have heroes aplenty. How can we arrange the forces of nature to provide enough food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for all the earth's rapidly growing population? Scientific heroes are working desperately now to produce power and more food, using the God-given resources of nature.

What will these heroes be like, these new ones?

They will be daring, adventurous, willing to take risks, willing to take jobs with low pay and great danger, and they will be daring enough to stand ridicule and opposition. They must think for themselves and speak the truth in kindness but firmness. They must study how to win others. Once they are sure they are right, they must be willing to proceed at any cost to themselves.

God depends heavily on human heroes. Our greatest hero, of course, is Jesus Christ. Because of his example countless people since have been lifted up from cowardice to courage. Christ had all the qualities of a truly great hero. Study his life closely, and you will learn how to be a hero yourself.

| More