4 Traits of an Ordinary Hero
A Guest Post by David Henke, VP of Sales at MinistryLINQ
This week I am pleased to give my blog post spot to my friends at MinistryLinq. They serve thousands of Christian organizations and ministries in their work of being faithful stewards of the funds being given to them. David Henke is VP of Sales at MinistryLinq and he has graciously provided this blog on Four Traits of an Ordinary Hero. Enjoy!
When I was growing up sports influenced me heavily. My friends and I were always pretending it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and we just scored the game winning goal, or the bases were loaded, two outs, and we drove in the winning run. Naturally all of our heroes were sports related. We loved the elegance of Dr. J on the court, and the speed and style of Guy Lafleur with the Montreal Canadians. The epic Ali, Frazier and Ali, Foreman fights became the model of toughness that all kids wanted to emulate.
My friends are all grown up now, but big kids still need heroes. My definition of a hero has changed because God has shaped my life and values. Fallen sports figures in a broken down world no longer sustain the power and dignity needed to be a “Hero” we can all look up to. Heroes, by definition, are those people that when faced with difficult times and adversity overcome through sacrifice for the greater good. There is a selflessness reflected in acting for the greater good, a generosity of spirit. Generous heroes have characteristics that set them apart.
“Not all heroes wear capes” is a tagline we use for our “Who’s Your Hero” campaign where I work. Every day we work with amazing Christian organizations that are changing the world. Our program intends to honor the life transforming work being done in communities all over the world. They are everyday Americans living out their faith in tangible ways. True heroes, with captivating stories, who are not always recognized. Isn’t that just like God to be in the ordinary?
To be ordinary is to be plain, to be common. I’ve seen ordinary show up in nursing homes, to those ministering to deep brown eyed children in third-world countries. Through volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers or those who serve meals to the homeless. Ordinary happens as the faithful serve the God they love.
Do you see yourself as ordinary? Maybe feel like you have nothing to offer a holy God. Think you are too busy and have no time? You’re convinced that there is no place for you in God’s plan. This is not the case. In reality to God you mean everything and are of the highest value. In David we see a flawed but real example of a man seeking God’s heart. He was an ordinary man working with an extraordinary God. Like David, we all are chosen vessels that God desires to accomplish His glory through.
The God of the universe demonstrated his love for you on the cross. He is the God who sustains creation and the stars, for good and evil alike. He is the God all kings of the earth will one day bow. He is the God that pursues you, knows every detail about you, and has been preparing a place for you since the foundation of the world. God does his best work with “ordinary vessels” that make themselves available for his extraordinary plan.
To be selfless is not to lose self, but to be lost in the lives and needs of others. Kindness loses itself in the lives of others. That’s why you hear encouraging words being doled out to a tired waitress, and it’s also the reason someone sacrifices their time to help a neighbor build a fence. We are to be set free by the verse “Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others (Philippians 2:4).” When we share in God’s fervor for people it is no longer necessary for us to measure out and tally. We can give freely, wholly, because our trust is in God’s advocacy for our lives. A generous hero finds their truest self in living for the lives of others-beyond their own.
When my kids were growing up I read them a story about a little boy about 22 months old who had been in an auto accident. He was unrecognizable to his parents due to burns he sustained on over 85% of his body. His story is heart rending because you at first feel sorry for him, pity for all that he has endured. But then you become inspired, finding a hero in the passion he had for the Lord. His life was difficult. He overcame obstacles of many kinds; the stares at his disfigured face and rejection by so many, simply because his appearance frightened them. What struck me the most about his story was his passion to use his situation for God’s glory. When others may have succumbed to self-pity this young man had strength beyond his years and now his testimony has gone out to the world. He became a well-known speaker sharing his story of love and forgiveness. These kinds of heroes serve because they love to please others; their unique talents are selfless instead of self-centered.
Recently someone that I know fell into a season of deep need in her life, so I had her over for dinner one night with my family. During the course of the evening she shared with us a valuable lesson about being intentional. When people are in need those on the outside often say things like, “just call me if you need anything” or “I’m here if you need me” but she said she never did. Those hurting often fail to reach out to others for a variety of reasons, one of which is being a burden to others, so they never ask. The most helpful were those who identified a need and just met it without having to be called. They were intentional, they were looking for ways to come alongside her, and when they discovered something they acted upon it quickly. One day someone arranged to take her kids so she had time to rest and relax without any responsibility. Another person took it upon themselves to fix a plumbing problem; someone else stepped up and fixed a door that was stuck. They saw a need but instead of waiting for a phone call they just went ahead and asked permission to fix the need. What could she say other than thank you. Even simple thoughts with purposeful action can change lives in ways we couldn’t imagine.
4. Generous love
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:21
What are God’s commands other than to love Him and to love others? When you write that check or help someone fix their car, where does your motivation come from? The reason why all the apostles died martyrs is the same reason people volunteer in a children’s cancer ward. They have a deep love for the One that loves them. That kind of love carries eternal value that no amount of money can buy; can you think of a greater motivation in life than the love of the Lord?
You may remember the famous song “Mrs. Robinson” written by Paul Simon in the 60’s. The Vietnam War effort was being protested by the likes of John Lennon, and the counterculture movement was in full swing. The song captivated a nation looking for a hero as the lyrics blared “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio.” Paul Simon said after the slugger’s death the line was “a sincere tribute to DiMaggio’s unpretentious heroic stature, in a time when popular culture magnifies and distorts how we perceive our heroes.” We might be playing that same song today, looking for new heroes. Maybe these great heroes aren’t hard to find if we slow down and observe. Take a look inside your life and see if a generous hero is around you.
David Henke is the VP of Sales at MinistryLINQ whose focus is helping churches and ministries be more effective in their mission through payment consulting and a suite of donation and payment processing solutions. Learn more at ministrylinq.com.