The world needs heroes

Small acts of heroism can change the world

By The Revd Canon Andrew Wright

Do you have any heroes? They might be famous people you have never met. They might be among your family, friends or even among your fellow crew. There are many different types of hero.

However, among the qualities will be a willingness to make sacrifices and to go a long way beyond the call of duty in the service of your fellow men and women.

There has always been huge heroism amongst seafarers. You give up so much for so long in carrying out your roles.

You sustain world trade and bring us all more than 90% of all we consume. Although you are often invisible, that makes you no less heroic. The work of The Mission to Seafarers – and indeed so much maritime welfare endeavour – was built on the heroic service of many individuals, and it is still sustained by such heroism today. I see it often in my travels and in the stories I read.

Heroism, though, is something for which we should all strive. The Bible is full of heroes. Interestingly, they are often the most unlikely people. Think of the young shepherd David and his enormous courage against the famed giant warrior Goliath. He showed courage beyond that of far more likely characters.

Think of Moses, a man with a lowly birth, a murder in his past and a terrible stammer. Though he felt very inadequate, he went on to take on Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of slavery.

Think of Peter, a humble fisherman who was so scared that he denied he knew Jesus three times. Yet he went on to be the rock on which the church was built.

Then above all there is Jesus himself. A seemingly ordinary man from a very ordinary village in remote Galilee. He modelled a courageous and sacrificial love that has never been surpassed. Even in the face of torture and crucifixion, it never failed.

That heroism changed the world and such heroism, such loving sacrifice – in you and I – can alone change our fragile and often hateful world today. We should all aspire to heroism. To the kind of love and self-sacrifice that always goes the extra mile with people, in whatever contexts we find ourselves. Though it might not be recognised, be assured that God sees it. It is such heroism that changes the world. And never forget the famous words of Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright is secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers.

A prayer of F.B. Meyer
Make us, O blessed Master, strong in heart, full of courage, fearless of danger,
holding pain and danger cheap when they lie in the path of duty.
May we be strengthened with all might by thy Spirit in our hearts.