Today, Luke and I traveled to a small village in Indonesia with our associate and guide to meet a pastor who has faithfully served the same church for many years. This older man is almost completely blind and can no longer read the Bible, but he continues to preach from memory, recalling Scriptures that feed hungry people who long for the Bread of Life.
The village in which he lives may boast a population of 400-500 people, and 85 of those precious souls are in that church almost every Sunday to hear the Word of God from this blind, elderly saint. His daughter and granddaughter made the journey with us, and as we pulled up to the front of this impecunious, yet cared for home, there he sat, the old-preacher man, barefoot, cane in hand, and big smile on his face.
From the world’s standards, this man has very little. A small home in a small village, with very few possessions, and almost nothing to pass on to his grown children. But as we sat and listened to this preacher share his stories, we saw he possessed something far greater. He possessed love. Not just the love of his children and grandchildren, although that he did have. Not just the love of the 85 church members, although he had that, too. The love he possessed was an eternal love that flowed from the Source of love, our heavenly Father.
The Apostle John writes that God is love (1 John 4:8), and because of that love, we can truly love one another (1 John 4:7). This blind preacher radiated that love of God, which was fully demonstrated through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8). I could be wrong, but I doubt the reason his family cares for him is not because of the inheritance they will receive after he is gone. The reason his church family cares for him is not because of the eloquence of his preaching. The reason he is greatly loved is because he greatly loves them.
And how can this man who has lost his eye-sight, who has lost his wife in a tragic accident, who nearly lost his own life when he fell from a tree a number of years ago, who has lost almost all worldly possessions (if he ever had them) greatly love those around him? Because he was first loved by our heavenly Father. When we receive His love, we then become a channel for that love to pour into the lives of others. The Bible says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).
Who are the real heroes? The ones who receive and share God’s love. They may have very little earthly possessions. They may have experienced great tragedy in this life. But they still proclaim the Word of God even though their eyes can no longer read its pages. They still live out their faith even when others have abandoned them. They still long for heaven even when the weight of this world pulls them down. You and I may never be heroes in the world’s sense, but I pray heroes we shall become based upon how we receive and share the love of God.