As far back as I can remember, there have always been people I’ve looked up to and admired. Some of the names on that list have dropped off for various reasons; others have since been added. People who have lived admirable, selfless, and upright lives ought to be seriously considered and evaluated for one’s list of heroes. These people should never be idolized or worshiped, obviously. But if they’re living life well, it would be reasonable to imitate the good they produce. Who are your heroes?
13. Who are your heroes?
I recently snuck in a link to an old post about one of my heroes. His life and mine didn’t have any crossover, but his legacy lives on in movies, books, and the Christian running community. I consider Eric Liddell one of my heroes. (Reasons why here.)
I think it’s healthy to have several heroes. I’ve been encouraged by pastors, family members, and mentors to research and imitate heroes. I would add Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Bunyan, and others to the list.
In my first #30Before30 post I said I probably wouldn’t post typical bucket list-y things. And while that’s still my plan, I will share one to-do that has been on my life’s bucket list. I have always wanted to meet another living hero. You’ve seen her name pop up on my blog before.
Joni Eareckson Tada.
Through a series of providential events, I was privileged to finally meet Joni. And better still, our meeting took place in her art studio. Dreams do come true!
On suffering: “God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves.” (Explanation here.)
I would strongly urge everyone to learn about Joni’s story. Read her books and devotionals. Listen to her radio programs. Volunteer with Joni and Friends outreach efforts. Pray for Joni’s impact, health, and blessing.
I could go on about how much Joni’s life, talents, and ministry mean to me personally. But I think this would be a good place to tie in what I think are key applications to admiring a hero.
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NASB)
Here are several questions (using Joni as an example) to consider when evaluating a hero and attempting to imitate his or her positive attributes:
- Why do I consider Joni a hero?
- How does Joni point me to Christ?
- What part of Joni’s life work inspires me to live differently?
- Like Joni, do I use God’s gifts for the good of others and the glory of God?
- In what way is Joni a good example of strong, yet humble leadership?
- What consistent actions and words stand out as things to imitate from her life?
- What qualities do other people admire in Joni?
- How can I be a force of good in my community like Joni is in hers?
- Are there areas in my life that need refining that are similar to areas Joni has already experienced and overcome?
- How does Joni prioritize her time, resources, and relationships?
This list surely isn’t exhaustive. And whomever your hero is, you can just replace the name in each question. Or edit and add your own questions. Create your own list. But do assemble a list—both of heroes and of practical, analytical questions.
How can you be a blessing and return the favor to your hero (again, Joni as an example)?
- Pray for Joni—health, ministry, her husband Ken, other family members, relationships with coworkers, personal peace and rest, spiritual growth, etc.
- Write Joni a quick note of encouragement
- Tell Joni thank you (via letter and/or social media)
- Share Joni’s story with others to bless, encourage, and challenge them—she might become their hero, too!
- Support Joni’s ongoing ministry with financial, volunteer, and prayer support
- Take the applications from the list of questions above and live them out—become a worthy example for others to follow.
We all need heroes. Imitate the best examples out there. Those who go before us have much to offer.
Who are your heroes?