Summary: Everyone needs a hero, and on 9/11, we discovered that there are heroes all around us. What traits make a person into a hero, and what does God need to do in my life to turn me into one?
September 1, 2002 Hebrews 11
¡§What makes a hero?¡¨
My son, Benjamin, being the extremely active boy that he is, will often fall and get cuts and bruises. When he does that, he¡¦ll come to Tammy or me for us to take the pain away. Knowing that we cannot take the pain away, we¡¦ll do the best that we can to prevent further pain. We¡¦ll wash it, put a band-aid on it ¡V and then we¡¦ll tell him to do one more thing ¡V LEAVE IT ALONE! We know that when you remove a bandage, when you pick a scab, when you mess with a wound that is in the process of healing, you can do further damage. Generally speaking, it is unwise to re-open old wounds.
But that is what we are getting ready to do. We are getting ready to re-open the wounds that were inflicted on us one year ago ¡V September 11, 2001. Why? In some respects, it would be easier to just let the past be the past. Let¡¦s build our memorials, say our good-bye¡¦s and get on with life. Why deal with it all again, and why deal with it here ¡V in the church? There are several reasons. First, some of those wounds haven¡¦t healed yet, or at least not properly. You may have hidden them under a lot of bandage and a lot of scar tissue, but the damage is still there. We need to expose it in order for it to heal correctly. Second, if we don¡¦t deal with the past, we will never learn from it, and we are destined to repeat it. There are many lessons that we can learn about life in general from the events of last September. We will examine some of them. Third, you will be hearing about all these things from the media. It will be the subject of talk shows, newscasts, specials, magazines and radio. Each one will add his own spin and his own interpretation of those events. We, as a church and as Christians, need to examine these things from God¡¦s perspective so that we can recognize untruth when we hear it. God is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. He is the only one who can give us the answers that we are looking for and can then provide healing for us. One final reason for this study. This series is not just about 9/11. It is about pain and suffering. It is about where pain and suffering come from, where God is in our pain, and it is about how we react to and deal with that pain. Though 9/11 will eventually fade into the background, pain and suffering will be a part of the human experience until God sets up His eternal kingdom. So the things that we say here will have application for the rest of your life. Pay attention. You might learn something.
We are going to approach this examination through the eyes of faith. And by faith, we accept that God makes good come out of evil. A good thing that came out of the evil was that we discovered that there are heroes all around us.
In the hours following the attacks, we began to hear stories ¡V stories of heroic actions by ordinary people. Firemen who raced up the stairs to get into the WTC even as employees raced down the stairs to get away from the WTC. Port Authority Policemen who became trapped by falling rubble as they were trying to help coordinate rescue and evacuation efforts. Stock brokers who slowed their escape from impending doom in order to help others make it out safely and ended up losing their own lives. Most of the heroes of 9/11 remain nameless to us, but we know the names of 4 airline passengers who took matters into their own hands and thwarted the efforts of hi-jackers to crash United Flight 93 into the Capitol building or the White House. They were Jeffery Glick, 31, a sales manager for a technology firm, Thomas Burnett Jr., 38, a California businessman, Mark Bingham, 31, a former college rugby player from California and Todd Beamer, 32, a sales rep., Christian, loving husband and the father of 3. They were heroes in the real sense of the word.
And that leads us to our question for today. What makes a hero? In the book of Hebrews and the eleventh chapter, God records for us the names of some men and women who God would regard as human heroes. And recorded in the stories of these men and women are many character traits that help us to define a true hero. We are going to look at 8 of those characteristics of heroes this morning. We won¡¦t be able to look at all of them in depth, but I want to at least mention them. This is not an exhaustive list, but I believe it is an accurate one. As we look, I want you to ask yourself this question: ¡§Am I a hero?¡¨ And if the answer is no, then follow it up with this question: ¡§What do I need God to change in my life in order for me to be a hero?¡¨ Let¡¦s take a look at these characterisitics.