Bullying/High School/My Life/Teen Life Want to be a Hero? Stop Looking for Attention by Jay Martin I don’t think twice about stepping in front of the gunman. I hear the cafeteria hall gasp as I slowly step in between the loaded gun and its target. I stare defiantly at the masked man, blocking the frightened student from him as he pulls the trigger in slow motion. I usually snap out of the daydream right before the bullet reaches me. Did someone call a hero? I love a good action movie, so these types of daydreams are pretty common for me. Whether it’s acting as a human shield in my high school cafeteria, diving on a live grenade in a crowded battlefield, or pushing someone out of the way of a speeding car, I always picture myself valiantly performing acts of sacrificial heroism with a manly-man, steel-like calm. In reality, I know the odds of any of us ever encountering these types of situations in real life are pretty much slim to none. The most danger I encounter as a guy on a day-to-day basis typically involves slipping in the shower, eating food that’s past its expiration date, or avoiding crazy people who are texting while driving. Still though, I still don’t doubt for a second my supposed heroism that would arise in these epic circumstances, and I know plenty of guys probably feel the same about being ready to jump into action. But if I were to reduce the drama, danger or glory level of these situations, would my actions still be the same? Back to reality I don’t think twice about walking right past the homeless man. I hear a group of guys talking about a female classmate, and I know their words are nothing but rumors loaded with inappropriate and suggestive comments. I stare lazily at my computer screen, knowing I should block out the idea of clicking on that link and where it might take me, but my hand still taps down on the mouse, in slow motion. Most guys, including myself, are confronted with these kinds of situations way more often than any dramatic action movie scenario. Yet in the face of these less-glamorous heroic opportunities, too many times I just back down. I’m faced with the chance to make a difference, take a stand, and rise up against the Goliath standing in front of me, but instead I just settle with being just another body going along with the crowd. Where did that supposed heroism go? When did Joe Schmoe replace Vin Diesel? Why am I so willing to take a bullet for a complete stranger, yet unwilling to speak up when I hear a girl being disrespected? The Hidden Hero What I soon realized about myself, was that so much of my fantasized heroism revolved around my desire for attention, and the attractiveness and glamour that came with these sacrificial acts of heroism. I was choosing the spotlight of Goliath instead of the humble obedience of David. While the thirst to bask in the attention and have your actions shine in the spotlight is appealing, Matthew 6:1 shines some real light on these types of situations: “But take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” Jesus goes on to say that all the people who blow trumpets, stand on the corner and make a big deal about the good things they’re doing have already received their attention and reward – an earthly one. But for those who do their good deeds in secret, the Father sees them in secret, and will repay them – a heavenly reward. Whose attention and reward would you rather have? Men of God, Rise Up I wrestled with that question for a long time, and it wasn’t until reading Philippians 3:20 did I have my answer: “our citizenship is in heaven.” It was time for me to cast off the things of this world and redirect my actions to serve a greater cause. Once I took a step back from my desire for attention, I quickly realized that there were opportunities for heroism all around me, and I guarantee that they’re all around you too. Just because they aren’t glittery and glorious didn’t make them any less noble or sacrificial. The homeless person, your parents after a stressful day at work, that easy opportunity to steal or cheat, the guy eating lunch by himself, the enticement of that same sin, the classmate who shared about some struggles on a retreat but then closed off once they got home — all of these present opportunities for us men to rise up. The time is up for “nice guys” who do “enough” to feel good about themselves and move along. Step out of your comfort zone: ask people how you can pray for them, and then pray right then & there. Don’t just have the backs of the classmates that you like; stand up for the kids that get picked on and ignored. The true hero isn’t the guy who steps up when there’s a crowd or it’s the cool thing to do, it’s the guy who rises to action when no one is watching. Instead of the glamour and spotlight of the ‘epic,’ public heroism, live your life with the goal of finding the secret, hidden opportunities for heroism and responding to them — the reward that follows will be heavenly. God isn’t looking for big, strong Goliaths to be heroes in the world. He’s looking for the small, humble Davids to be heroes. It’s time to pick up your stone. If you’re a man, eager to respond to God’s call to you to be a hero, consider attending the Life Teen Men’s Retreat. Click here for more information.