Modern Day Spiritual HerosGeorge Shamblin
Several years back, I had a casual conversation with a young man who was enrolled in college. At a given point, Heisman winner Tim Tebow entered the dialog. Prior to finishing my long list of accolades for Tebow and his strong Christian character, the college kid blurted out how desperately he hoped that Tebow would “get busted in a hotel room full of drugs and prostitutes,” so he could be brought down once and for all. Considering the constant barrage of public figures we read about daily who are embroiled in one form of nastiness or another, it would seem that a man like Tebow walking in his integrity would be appreciated by all, including that college student. However, this somber truth was brought to my attention then as well as now–“In some strange way, there is pleasure seeing someone great fall to make us feel better about ourselves. But deep down, we really long to see them succeed to confirm for us there is hope.”
For me, a deep-seeded desire exists to observe my spiritual heroes rise up to, or possibly exceed, the same standard Paul set for a young Pastor named Timothy: “Set an example for other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1st Timothy 4:12). When disciples of Christ do, in fact, excel in godliness, an element of hope is instilled within each of us; not hope in the men themselves, but hope in the Savior behind them.
The biggest and most sobering challenge for me is realizing that as I watch other giants on a bigger field of play fighting the good fight, there might just be another individual over my shoulder watching me fighting a smaller, yet no less significant fight. The question is begged then, “am I likewise living in a manner worthy of the Gospel bringing glory to God as well as encouraging fellow godly-men?” My prayer must then be, “Lord, help me to be that man!” Meaning the kind of man who can honestly call upon others to “follow me as I follow Christ” (1st Corinthians 11:1). Or even be the kind of man like Paul, who was able to exclaim, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Michelangelo stated it well by saying, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” As you read this be challenged to be that man who aims for an amazingly high spiritual mark and chases it unto completion. Be sure to know without question God is glorified when you seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, but it is during that process of seeking where you extend to the rest of us a degree of much needed hope. And be completely assured of this truth: if you are, in fact, aiming high spiritually, you are a hero to someone, somewhere. For the sake of the Kingdom, and for the sake of that someone, somewhere, please do not let them down. Be that man. Be that hero.