Monday, July 29, 2013

The goodness of God and the need for better heroes (Psalm 73:1-3)

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 73:1-3 (TM)
No doubt about it! God is good - good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people

Ted W. Engstrom tells this story: Babe Ruth had hit 714 home runs during his baseball career and was playing one of his last full major league games. It was the Braves versus the Reds in Cincinnati. But the great Ruth was no longer as agile as he had once been. He fumbled the ball and threw badly, and in one inning alone his errors were responsible for most of the five runs scored by Cincinnati.
As the Babe walked off the field after the third out and headed toward the dugout, a crescendo of yelling and booing reached his ears. Just then a boy jumped over the railing onto the playing field. With tears streaming down his face, he threw his arms around the legs of his hero.
Ruth didn't hesitate for one second. He picked up the boy, hugged him, and set him down on his feet, patting his head gently. The noise from the stands came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly there was no more booing. In fact, hush fell over the entire park. In those brief moments, the fans saw two heroes: Ruth, who in spite of his dismal day on the field could still care about a little boy; and the small lad, who cared about the feelings of another human being. Both had melted the hearts of the crowd. 
The sports page is filled with stories of baseball players who made some bad decisions in order to get ahead in the game. Our heroes have fallen. Great players wanting to be better cheated, took short cuts, did illegal things and now look, they are suspended or under a cloud of suspicion. Heroes fall.

Front-page news carries the stories of politicians who made horrible sexual harassing decisions that now threaten to ruin their careers. We listen to their stories and say to ourselves… why were they so stupid? What were they thinking? And heroes fall.

The question begs to be asked, as indicated in the Psalmist words, “who do we look up to?” Who are our heroes? Who wins the day for us? When all is said and done who stands head and shoulder above all others?

Is it the doctor who doesn’t charge the sick an arm–and-a leg? Is it the busy person who takes the time to listen to another person? Is it the individual who gathers food for the needy? Is it the uneducated man who continues to preach sharing the good news at the age of 92? Is it the little old lady at the grocery store that helps a frazzled young mother with her two children? Just who are the heroes for today? For you? For me?

Do we take the time to speak a kind word to these everyday heroes? To tell them thank you? To share how meaningful their simple acts of kindness are to us?

We just need new heroes… everyday heroes… Maybe you are someone’s hero. It might be simply your laughter or smile or patience or kind lifting word. In these simple acts we allow the goodness of God to shine through and lift the spirit of others… we become a hero for God!

Life is too short to have bad heroes. So, Lord, help us to choose more wisely and live more victoriously. It is hard to imagine, but Lord we do realize that somebody might be looking our direction… looking up to us… help us to redirect their attention towards you, the one who is good all the time. 

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