Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Of Heroes and Spiritual Mothers

Elisabeth Elliot Gren

"Well, what is a hero anyway? 'Any man admired for his courage, his nobility,

or exploits, the central figure in any important event, honored for

outstanding qualities.' Wasn't Jim a hero? We badly need heroes. How else

shall we grasp the meaning of courage or strength or holiness? We need to see

such truth made visible in the lives of human beings...Heroes are paradigms.

They show us what strength or purity or courage actually looks like".

- The Mark of A Man

I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of Christian heroes. Not just how they will fit into our 'curriculum', but how they will impact the lives of our children... and ourselves. I did not grow up with the heroes of the Bible or of the early church. I have shamefully little knowledge of the brothers and sisters in my heritage who have given all for Christ throughout the centuries. But, I want to know them more. I want to learn from them.

As I was considering this whole idea of 'heroes' I got to chatting with the girls the other day about the concept. I'm sorry to say we haven't used the word around the house much. After we talked a bit about what a hero was, I asked Shug if she had any heroes, yet. She thought for a moment and said, yes, she had.

David. He was awfully brave to fight Goliath.

I was encouraged.

I am still carrying around with me, though, this deep sense that it is of the utmost importance that Sam and I take great care to keep godly heroes before our children. We are not nearly purposeful enough. They must be prepared for great battles. How are we preparing them? All of the things Tracy Lee Simmons wrote in Climbing Parnassus about the significance of hero training in the young Greeks and Romans really struck a cord with me. How much more so should godly heroes be held up within Christian families, for the next generation?

Later that afternoon I was looking for the quote above. I sat on the couch, skimming through the book, when Punkin (whose middle name is Elisabeth) came running up to my side. She pointed at the picture of Elisabeth Elliot on the cover. "Who's dat?" she wanted to know.

I looked at my bright-eyed two year old, and then I looked at one of my most beloved 'heroes', and tears welled up in my eyes. "That is Elisabeth Elliot, honey. You are named for her".

By God's grace, may my daughters learn to hold her and many such spiritual mothers close to their hearts.

"Moral choices face all of us, every day. How we choose reveals

the stuff we're made of. It is, in the final analysis, the willingness

to take the consequences of our decisions that makes

heroes to say, like Luther,

"Here I stand. I can do no other."