When the description of a hero includes "faithful one"

Read: Romans 12:9-13

Reflect: As I was driving back from Lancaster the other day, I passed the Lancaster Post Office.  My eye caught a huge sign in front of the building: “Heroes Work Here”. At first I thought maybe what everyone thinks these days when they see signs like that…..it’s a wonderful gesture. They are recognizing their workers who are doing their job in the midst of this pandemic.  But on further reflection, I thought, wait, we should have a sign like that put up in front of our church. A humongous sign that people all over Willow Street can see, because we have a lot of heroes that work at GCC!

What exactly is a hero? Is it a nurse, a doctor, a policeman, a fireman? Of course, it’s all of those people. But it’s more than a title, it’s what they do these days for people who have the virus, who are suffering financially, or who are simply scared because of the pandemic. For example, all members of our pastoral teams have called people who can’t or won’t go to church because of the threat of getting sick, but at the same time, need a human voice to console them and reassure them of Jesus’ presence in their lives.  They have helped countless people confront fear, depression or simply a lack of joy at a time when it is difficult to find real assurance.

The number of hours that our staff and volunteers have put into this ministry is greater than we’ll ever know. They have been a faithful team of brothers and sisters working tirelessly to provide a building that is prepared for people to meet in, to plan schedules for all the different events, to work out a plan in which children can worship here and their parents can feel safe. I write this, not as a pastor who has experienced what it is like to go through a pandemic, but as a pastor who greatly understands what the pressures are to serve under normal circumstances and how involved ministry can be.  

In some ways though, a sign that says “Heroes Work Here”, doesn’t really capture the full meaning of what we are talking about.  The Apostle Paul tells us how believers should act within their own community. Love what is sincere, hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-10) It’s when we honor others above ourselves, that we are truly heroes. Now we know in the physical world that there are many opportunities for people to be heroes by going out of their way. But Paul is speaking to believers when he says: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (vs. 11) For those who have the spiritual fervor, who really want to serve the Lord, we must be ones to bring the Gospel. That’s what makes Pastor Mike (and all the other staff and volunteers at Grace) different from the heroes at the Lancaster Post Office. They are not only honoring others by placing the needs of others above their own, but they are sharing with them the greatest message in the world, the Gospel which gives an eternal hope and a future. When we tell someone that it’s going to be OK, and we’re here for them, that brings comfort, but when we proceed to tell them that Jesus gave his life on the cross so that we may have eternal life, that can bring everlasting joy.  

Apply:  The next time you drive by one of those signs: "Heroes Work Here”, just remember you also know some people that are doing some eternally heroic things. People who are making tremendous sacrifices so that you can hear the Gospel preached each week, so that you have somewhere to go when your marriage is failing or your kids are rebelling or you feel lost or lonely. Tell them you appreciate all of them (sorry, I know it’s not Pastor Appreciation Month but make the exception).  Now, regarding putting up that sign. The Pastors will never agree to it (I think it has something to do with humility or something), but maybe we can compromise. How about a big sign in front of the church that reads, “Faithful Ones Work Here”!

Bill is a retired pastor who continues teaching, discipling, and working with children through the church and by substitute teaching. He loves to serve his Lord.