In a world where 16 year old pop singers are glorified for their cool hair and slick dance moves and professional athletes can shoot up drugs, hit home runs and still land on the cover of major magazines as World’s Best fill in the blank we have to ask ourselves “Why them?”
Why do we glorify sin and exalt worldly fame?
Why do we pick these people out to lift up above the rest?
Don’t get me wrong. I can watch Entertainment Tonight with the best of em’ (guilty as charged- except not right now- Liberia’s lack of electricity and t.v. stations limit my ET watching) and I know that I am preaching to the choir as many of you that read this blog could care less about pop stars, athletes and reality t.v., but my point is who aren’t we lifting up? I could name hundreds (probably thousands) of movie stars, t.v. starts, pro-athletes, and journalists, but I’m scraping the barrel to name as many mothers and fathers of the faith! This is sad because I would like to think of myself as someone relatively well-read.
In our down-time here we don’t have a whole lot to do past sleeping, watching bootleg Chinese DVDs, and reading. Our friends, the Mabrys, (Thanks again Zach, Rocky and Parker) blessed us with a kindle before we left for Liberia and we have enjoyed the many books that we’ve been able to read. Hauling 25 pounds of books to the interior of Liberia was not an option and anyone who knows Kyle and I knows that we love books! We’ve had plenty to read here which as been a huge blessing and escape after hard days!
Lately I’ve poured over books about Christian homesteaders in the American West, pioneer missionaries to West Africa and Puritan women in Colonial America. Their wisdom, their faith, the reality of how God met them at every step, it’s inspiring. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world that glorifies acts of independence and self-aggrandizement rather than acts of obedient trust to God. These men and women were obedient, humble servants of a God they knew as faithful and mighty to save. Their lives didn’t point to themselves, but always to God and His work in this world.
A little different from this present world, eh? (I threw the “eh?” in for our Canadian readers)
Reading about the first missionaries to travel to the depths of West African jungles and Indian shores is well…rather thrilling! Depictions of their adventures were read like dime store novels by many faithful Christians during the 1800s. After David Livingstone’s death hundreds of Christians applied to work on foreign mission fields the world over. Their work on the field was full of brushes with danger, sometimes fatal disease and above all proclaiming the Word of God to the heathen! (Ok, I had to say that because ever book says it). They were essentially rock stars!
As I’ve spent time learning from the lives of these saints gone before I’ve realized that none of them want to be seen as heroes. Though their stories were thrilling fodder for many Christian’s hearts their hearts were set on a higher prize.
One that many of them would die on the field preaching and proclaiming.
I don’t think we can say as much for our modern day “heroes”. Everything about being a celebrity is about self. Everything about the lives of the saints I’m talking about was about pointing towards the real hero. The true champion. The only “person” worthy of praise…Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Everyone in the world is guilty of some type of “hero worship”. We’re wired to worship. I believe that the saint’s gone before were worshipping the true “Hero”.
So here we are missionaries in a foreign land. Not heroes of the faith by any means just regular people who’ve chosen to follow Christ’s call. We aren’t quite the pioneers that David Livingstone or Mary Slessor of Calabar (google them!) were here in the heart of Africa. No one reads this blog for the thrill of it all. (Although it is interesting to think what those pioneers might have wrote if they had internet access!) All we really know is that like those that have gone before us, those that have paved roads of faith into the deepest jungle, we want to be pointing towards the Hero. Our Champion. Our Lord and Savior. That is pioneering. That is daring in this present world. It isn’t cannibals and heathen savages. It’s God’s love made manifest in our own lives for our good and His glory.
You don’t have to be a missionary on the foreign field to practice this kind of “Hero Worship”. You just have to readjust your heart to worship the only hero worth our praise and worship.
FYI: His name doesn’t start with “Justin” and end with “Bieber”