Today is my youngest brother’s birthday. He is a Los Angeles City Firefighter. Through his hard work and dedication, he is always achieving some special distinction, and has thus far made the rank of Captain with more promotions to come.
Mike is the epitome of a hero. For all his life, he dreamed of doing what he now does, with such tempered humility and ease that it baffles me. In the face of disaster, trauma, fire, flood, earthquake, riots, and calamity of every kind, Mike is there - leading, applying the discipline of years of training and experience, putting order back into situations of emergency and chaos.
I am so truly proud of him.
Certainly, we cannot all be heroes to the degree my brother is. We are not called to be. Some of us are meant to go into the fire and rescue people. We are meant to be the superheroes. What an awesome gifting to be one of God’s chosen in such a demonstrable way, being the hands and feet of miracles.
Most of us, I suspect, fall into another category, however. We are the the ones behind the scenes who carry out our callings in much different ways. Our effectiveness seems minuscule, perhaps even barely perceptible.
The qualities of true Purpose, doing that which we are called to do, does not change whether we are physically out on the battlefield of life defending our country, our streets, in our hospitals, or our classrooms. The qualities of Purpose are in honoring whatever it is that God has called you to be through faithfulness, integrity, character and consistency.
The world, I feel, is always mocking these qualities. It champions idols — people and interests that are held up for reasons that have nothing to do with helping others; whose hands and feet are occupied with self-interest, arrogance and sin. The world does a fairly good job of dividing, not uniting, the virtues of Purpose.
I have come to understand, that what grieves our hearts the most, is when others fail at being true to their Purpose. They compromise their faithfulness, their integrity, their character, for things other than what they are called to do — to be good parents, spouses, friends, and co-workers. In short, this compromise hurts us when we cannot count on those we do life with.
I will never know the rush that must come from rescuing someone from a burning building. I may never experience the satisfaction of making a difference in peoples’ lives who live out their Purpose in medicine, public service, or any of the callings that minister to others physically, spiritually, or in so many other ways.
All I know, is that I am tending to my Purpose when I honor Him in all that I do, no matter how unsung it is. God calls us to be good to each other, by being loving, kind and honest. He wants for us to dedicate ourselves, each to our unique giftings, to be good and faithful servants. He calls each of us to stand in righteousness, tending to all that He has given us to care for, and to be grateful for our blessings.
Everyday, people like my brother, witness how fleeting life is. What we hold dear and love, can — in an a moment — be taken from us. What remains, what will be said of us, is who we were while we were here.
I pray each day that God will give me the courage to live out my Purpose. To not be afraid to put myself out there, to live authentically in being who He has called me to be as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend; as someone who chooses to use the gifts He has placed in me for His glory.
The world may never look to you or me as heroes, and that is okay. But never underestimate the contributions you make by standing in the qualities of Purpose, and that effect others in profound and minuscule ways. They are all important.
We are His hands and feet. And, in God’s eyes, there is no greater Purpose than this.
We are all everyday heroes.