I have something I desperately need to confess to you. It's pretty tough to admit; but I know I will feel better getting it off my chest. Well, here it goes. At 29, I still wish I could be a superhero! Whew, I feel better. From the time I was a young boy I was enamored with the likes of Superman, Spiderman and Batman. Around the age of 4, I must have convinced myself I was like Clark Kent and could actually fly. My parents were building a deck off our front door. The platform was finished but there were no rails built. I took it upon myself to take a few laps on my big wheel (Do you remember these things? The 100% plastic trikes with a giant front wheel.). I became bored and worked up the courage to launch my big wheel (and myself) right off the deck. You might be surprised to discover that I flew that day. In all honesty, it was no further than a few feet, but just as quickly as I left the deck, I plummeted face first into the ground below. The result was a trip to the hospital to have gravel removed from my face. Given that setback, I still want nothing more today than to be a superhero. Little did I know, I would be given that opportunity on more than one occasion.
Before you jump to conclusions, let me set a few things straight. I didn't inherit a fortune to pay for my secret life-style. I'm not out late at night fighting crime while the rest of the city is peacefully sleeping. I haven't discovered how to fly. I can't scale walls. I am not handy nor do I have any handy gadgets. Just ask my friends, I have to borrow simple tools from them like lawn mowers, saws and drills. I don't even have a side-kick, unless you count my spoiled dog. What I have is far greater and more profound than any of those things. And yet, I overlook it on a regular basis. The secret to my superpowers is...we will get to that later.
These past few weeks in church we have been diving into a series titled 'Who's Counting on You?' And to be quite honest, throughout this series I have found myself thinking the answer to that question is-- nobody. I don't have a wife at home counting on me to bring home the bacon. I have zero children counting on me to be there for them, set an example, provide for them and raise them. While they rely on me at work to get the job done, any number of people could really do what I do. So, it seems they really aren't counting on me per se. Yes, I volunteer at church, but again, other people could easily fill my shoes. And if I can admit something else to you, this isn't where I envisioned I would be when I was in college. Please understand, this isn't a pity party. I don't need anyone to tell what I'm doing is important and is making a difference--deep in my gut, I already know this. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, recognition, or accolades. What I'm sharing with you has just been the battle taking place in my soul during each of the messages in this series.
Permit me one last time to pour my heart out to you. I want to make a difference. I don't want to live for money, or possessions, or vacations, or anything else that is temporal. I desperately want my life to count for something. For something more. I see others pursuing amazing things and self-lessly giving themselves away to to a dark and hurting world. They regularly waste their time and money on those Jesus refers to as "the least of these." They are making a difference. And you can be sure their lives are counting for something! In my book, that's what real superheros do. And I want to be a superhero!
I sat there listening to Justin share about his life all the while finding common ground in my own life with everything he said. Knowing the truth from an early age, and yet doing nothing with it. Continuing to use Jesus as a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card. Selfishly living the way I wanted. Spending my money on things I wanted. Wasting my time on what was important to me. I was even justifying why I couldn't make this next trip to Mexico, knowing full well that I needed to go again. Then Micah comes and shares about the life of Richman and the ministry of Poetice in Zambia, and the battle intensifies. Here are three ordinary men (Justin, Micah and Richman), who saw a need and decided to wastefully give themselves away to meet that need. None of them are financially wealthy. They don't have secret identities veiled by masks. And as far as I know, the only one with a utility belt full of handy gadgets is Justin (remember, I'm not handy so I consider a cat's paw a handy gadget). What each of these men have is is humility and compassion fueled by the Holy Spirit. Those are their superpowers. That is what sets them apart from a majority of the world. That is what makes them superheros--not to the entire world, but to those they serve and lead. The amazing reality is that you and I have access to those same superpowers, but sometimes we trade them in for the pursuit of security and comfort.
In hindsight, I see that every day I am presented with opportunities to be a superhero. Instead of embracing them, I tend to make excuses. I tell myself things like: "That's not going to make a difference; I'm too busy; I don't have enough money; It's too tough; This might be uncomfortable." Either that or I simply write these opportunities off as insignificant. Is sitting down with the homeless guy on the corner and sharing a cup of coffee or burger with him going to put a dent world hunger? Not really. Is giving a few dollars a day to an organization that provides basic necessities to children in third-world countries going to solve poverty? I highly doubt it. I am so focused on the bigger picture and the end result that I squander opportunity after opportunity to actually do something. It's not likely that I will solve any of the problems facing the world today. I probably won't go down in the history books as someone truly significant. A few times I have heard Phill say, "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone." By embracing that mentality I can actually live up to the calling God has placed on each of our lives to be a superhero to those we actually come into contact with.