An article in the July/August 2003 issue of the Pennsylvania State University alumni magazine recounts the story of Norina Bentzel — a modern day hero. In January 2001, while principal of an elementary school, she confronted a stranger who appeared at her school with a machete intending to harm her school children. In spite of her small stature and armed with only her bare hands, she subdued the attacker at great personal sacrifice to herself. When interviewed as a hero Norina Bentzel was uncomfortable and said, "I can't take credit for what I did that day. If you want to call me a hero because I treasure these children, that's fine, but I do that every day in my job." She also indicated that she had been guided by her faith in what she did to defend the children. It was who she was that guided what she did.
Being a hero is a by-product of who we are rather than what we intend to do. Even Superman had personal values that defined who he was and shaped what he did -"truth, justice and the American way". The defining issue of heroism is character.
If we are to be heroes of the faith as followers of Jesus, it will have to do more with the "state of our faith" than with the events of our lives. Biblical and current day examples abound demonstrating people who acted courageously. However, when God spoke to Joshua about leading the children of Israel, he did not call him a hero although he would be or even point to a single event of courage that would separate him for others. Rather he admonished him to godly character – to follow God and
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful (heroic?) wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and be successful." (Joshua 1: 7-8)
This week, let us be heroes as followers of Jesus by continuing to strive toward developing the character that will enable us to act boldly and courageously when called up to do so.
Sharing the journey with you,