It’s the kind of person who can do anything, right?
Maybe it was Dad when you were 3 years old. He could fix anything and build anything, and it seemed like he was the fastest and strongest and smartest person in the world. He was your hero.
Then, as we grow, some athletes pick up that mantle, and we fill our walls with their pictures and talk to our friends about how awesome they are.
Or maybe it becomes some musicians who seem larger than life. They can do anything. What heroes!
Or we look to the bravery of the firefighters or policemen. We see the intelligence of our teachers.
We find someone who has done something for us. We all have our heroes.
Around this Fourth of July holiday, it makes sense to think about heroes.
Think about those patriots who sacrificed so much so we could have our freedom — from Patrick Henry to Nathan Hale, George Washington to Paul Revere. Just think of what those signatures on the Declaration of Independence represented. Every pen stroke was astounding bravery.
They would do anything to do what was right. Think about what it means to be a hero. This is someone who can and does do whatever it takes.
So today, let’s talk about how God makes you a hero. Our text is Philippians 4, where Paul writes in verse 13:
"I can do all things through him who gives me strength."
I can do everything. Think about that.
Next week, in our "Heroes of Faith" Soccer Camp at Abiding Grace (July 8-12, 9 a.m. to noon), we’ll be talking all about just that — heroes of faith. Just like so many kids have their sports heroes, we’ll be sharing with them some of the heroism we see in the Bible, from Noah who was one man standing against the world; to Joseph, who rose from slavery to leading a world superpower.
We’ll see Moses, who formed a nation out of a bunch of slaves and overthrew Egypt and then Elijah who won the ultimate prize. And all of those heroes will show us that it was only God’s strength that accomplished it. No matter how weak they each were — God strengthened them.
He does the same for you. He makes you a hero — even with all your faults and failures, he strengthens you to be something you weren’t — a hero. The highlight of our Bible studies at Soccer Camp will be seeing the world’s greatest hero — Jesus. He was a hero, not because he bossed anyone around — but his love overcame all. His love drove him to sacrifice everything for us.
I think of how much I admire the American patriots of the Revolutionary War and realize that it was because of how much they sacrificed for something they believed in. And now I realize that what I believe in is the one who sacrificed everything for me.
And it is that, that makes me a hero. That’s what makes you a hero, too. Like Paul wrote,
"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." In order to accomplish anything that matters, it’s got to be fueled by him. And he does fuel our heroism.
The more we focus on Jesus’ heroism for us, the more we’ll be able to love and sacrifice, and that’s what makes heroes. Really, it is just doing the right thing when the opportunity is there. So be a hero. Spend time in God’s word seeing what he has done, and let that love show in your life. That’s what naturally happens.
One great way to start your heroism is by giving your kids the opportunity to take part in "Heroes of Faith" Soccer Camp. You can register your kids (ages 5-14) at soccer.abidinggrace.com or by calling 770-385-7691.
And whatever you do, keep your eyes on Jesus and you will be a hero by his strength.
God bless your weekend.
The Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Worship every Sunday is at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Full sermons and more information can be found at abidinggrace.com.