Summary: All of us need someone who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.
Spiderman II: Taking Responsibility
Pastor Mark Batterson
This evotional concludes the God @ the Box Office series. To check out old evotionals, visit the evotional archive in the resources section @ www.theaterchurch.com.
I love different superheroes for different reasons. Let me tell you why I like Spiderman. It’s because his alter ego, Peter Parker, is ordinary in every way. He is kind of geeky and sort of wimpy. He gets fired from his pizza delivery job. He is late for classes. And he is awkward with the opposite sex.
One of my favorite scenes in Spiderman II is the elevator scene. He is losing his superpowers so he has to take the elevator to the ground level like normal people. And he strikes up a conversation about his spidey suit. He admits that it is sort of itchy and it rides up in the crotch. Is it just me, or do you feel an affinity for any superhero who gets wedgies?
When we hear the word “hero” we tend to think of someone who is extraordinary in some way—extraordinarily gifted or extraordinary smart. But Spiderman reminds us that heroes come in ordinary packages.
No one was more heroic than Jesus. But Jesus came in an ordinary package. I love the way Isaiah 53:2 describes him: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire.” Jesus came in the form of a carpenter. He had calloused hands. He got splinters. I even think he missed the nail and hit his thumb a time for two!
Oswald Chambers said, “It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things.”
Last week I heard best-selling author and business guru, Marcus Buckingham, tell a story that really intrigued me. He was doing some consulting work for a resort company. And he was amazed at the productivity and creativity of the housekeepers who cleaned the hotels where guests stayed. While guests were at the theme park during the day, the housekeepers wouldn’t just clean the rooms. They would actually take some of the stuffed animals that the kids would leave in the room and arrange them in scenes to surprise the kids or play with their imaginations.
I don’t know about you, but I hate cleaning. When someone says, “Let’s clean” I usually pretend like I didn’t hear them. It’s not my idea of fun. Cleaning is hard work. It’s dirty work. It can be pretty monotonous and dull. But it was something more to this housekeeping crew!
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ’There lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Heroes come in ordinary packages. The widow who gave two mites was a hero. The boy who gave five fish and two loaves was a hero. The woman who anointed Jesus with the alabaster jar of perfume was a hero.
This week, NCC had about twenty ordinary heroes in our midst. We had a group of guys from Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois doing an extreme office makeover at 205 F Street. They did an absolutely amazing job renovating our office space. But it wasn’t their skilled work that really impressed me. It was their spirit. These guys were up around five o’clock in the morning and they worked some nights until close to midnight. Not only did they give us a week of their time, but they did it on their own nickel. They basically paid to serve! If that’s not heroic I don’t know what is!
Here’s what I’m trying to say: don’t allow what you can’t do to keep you from doing what you can. Don’t allow who you aren’t to keep you from being who you are. Be exceptional at ordinary things!
A Second Longer
Let me make an observation. I’m not sure that Spiderman is the true hero in his movie. I think Aunt May is every bit as heroic as her nephew, Peter Parker. If you saw the first installment of Spiderman, you know that Peter Parker has a guilty secret. He was responsible for the death of his Uncle Ben, Aunt May’s husband. His non-action led to Uncle Ben’s death. And he’s haunted this guilty secret. In Spiderman II he has the courage to confess to Aunt May. But the courage to confess is superseded by the courage to forgive. And Aunt May doesn’t just forgive him. She still believes in him! In fact, her “pep talk” changes the trajectory of his life by causing him to embrace his superpowers again.