Becoming An Everyday Hero

Superheroes are on display everywhere you look. The latest box-office blockbuster is almost always a superhero movie. You can’t walk through any store without seeing the newest superhero action figure or costume.


Superheroes seem to have overtaken our world. And, they seem to have overtaken our definition of what it means to be a hero.


But what if heroes are not always on display for the world to see like in the movies? What if there are heroes unintentionally hiding in ordinary moments of life.


I was in a local barbershop waiting to get my haircut a couple of weeks ago when a gentleman pulled into the parking lot with his wife. After parking the car, he walked around to the passenger side. I was blown away by what happened next — not because of the gesture itself — but because it seemed so natural for them.


He opened the door, offered his arm to her, and I watched as a glimpse of joy passed over his face as he felt his bride’s hand grasp his arm. By the time they reached the door to the barbershop (they both appeared to be around eighty-years-old), there was an eight-year-old boy waiting there to open the door for them.


For me, that was a heroic moment. Sure, there weren’t building crashings and the fate of the world didn’t necessarily hang in the balance — but it was significant. Why?


Because I believe showing honor (especially these days) is heroic.


Maybe heroism isn’t just found in big universe saving moments, maybe heroism is found in the “off the beaten path” moments of life. The moments when we show honor to another life.


Proverbs‬ ‭15:33‬ says, “…humility comes before honor.”


Humility is an interesting word. The weight it carries can feel off-balance. Humility as a word has the ability to express a feeling of piousness or humbleness and, in the same moment, it can almost carry a perceived negative undertone of weakness or meekness.


When Proverbs says that humility comes BEFORE honor, the way you define humility for yourself is paramount. So what lens do you define humility through? Because right on the footsteps of humility follows honor.


Living a fully surrendered life beckons each and every one of us to live more and more like Jesus every single day. So, where did Jesus show humility?


I think one of the most relatable stories is found in John 13. In this story, we find Jesus at dinner with His disciples. Thirteen men sat around a table and shared a meal. I can picture Peter, James, and John sitting down at this table on the brink of a trajectory changing and a character-defining moment. Maybe they were joking around and laughing, enjoying the moment, but Jesus is about to peel back a layer of what it means to live a life like Jesus.  


The Bible says in John 13:4, “…Jesus rose from supper.  He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”


This is heroic humility.   


There is a mountain of meaning behind Jesus’ action. The feet of those twelve men were caked with the dust of daily travels. The job of washing feet was reserved for the slave of the home. Yet, in striking fashion, Jesus – the one who spoke galaxies into existence – dons the towel of a slave and wipes the muddied feet of His friends.


What a powerful display of love and humility! Jesus shows how love will bend as low as necessary to lift another up. A Love will enter into the mess so it can make things lean. Love will be humble. This is what Jesus not only does for us but also calls us to do for one another – to love by humbling ourselves.


Jesus bends low in humility and honor follows. Being a person of honor is simply finding moments in our day to day lives to humble ourselves to lift another up. When we do this, we become heroic.


“When He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”


What I witnessed that day in the barbershop was an eighty-year-old man, and an eight-year-old boy, following the example of Christ — even if they didn’t realize it. They humbly lowered themselves. First, an eighty-year-old honored his wife, and then, an eight-year-old honored him. I love the chain reaction that happened in that moment.


I believe this is how we change our world. This is how we become heroes. Each and every one of us has to look for daily moments of humbly serve others. When we do this, honor follows and infiltrates our society and thereby, changes our world.


-Pastor Peter Kerlin