God’s heroes

God’s heroes are not always the people who make the national television news.

Often, they’re the quiet people who sacrifice themselves for others.

I remember years ago a young, up-and-coming official in the Canadian government who was already high up in the bureaucracy. He was also a star in Christian circles in Ottawa.

But he decided to take a quieter job and drop his high-profile Christian positions in order to take care of his wife who had a serious, long-term illness. His priority was where it should be – his wife who needed his care.

There are others I know who invest hours every day in helping their children with learning disabilities. Or, who pour themselves out in volunteer activities – often in the background.

These are God’s heroes.

I am reminded of Jesus’ wonderful story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.

Jesus tells this story -or parable – to Jewish listeners. He knew his listeners despised Samaritans who, in the distant past, shared their religious beliefs but were now considered heretics. So Jesus makes a Samaritan the hero of his story.

He describes a scene where a good Jew is robbed, beaten and left for dead on a road. A Jewish priest, one of the elite of his society, sees the beaten and bleeding man and passes by on the opposite side of the road, avoiding him.

A temple assistant also does nothing for the man and walks by.

The picture here is of men who were too self-important to be bothered with someone in need. They did not want to take the time and the effort in their busy days to help this man. It would cost them time and, perhaps, money.

But the hated Samaritan happens by and tends to the man’s wounds, gives him wine to revive him and takes him to an inn so that he can rest and recuperate. He pays the innkeeper to look after him while he is away and promises more money if the hotel bill is higher than what he has given him.

Of course, Jesus’ point is that the Samaritan was the “good neighbour” to the beaten Jewish man – not his religious compatriots.

It is a good reminder to me when I am preoccupied with the things I want to do and ignore the needs of those around me.

These things that I think important may be much less important in God’s eyes than the needy person right beside me.

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