“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:1-2 ESV
On Tuesday, July 2, Rose and I were fortunate enough to take in a Kansas City Royals game at Kaufmann Stadium. I’m a big Alex Gordon fan, so it was a thrill. Given my recent Achilles’ tendon surgery, we were able to get tickets in the “handicapped” section behind home plate. Great seats!
I’ve noticed that often times we refer to our local baseball team as our “hometown heroes.” I’m quite unsure how this came to be, but it is amazing how we elevate our local sports figures as “heroes.” While I’m not opposed to this designation, I can see the limitation of using the word “hero” so liberally.
Rose and I got settled into our spots early and marveled at our view. Not long after that, a man in a wheelchair arrived with a friend and they sit next to me. We exchange minimal pleasantries, but once the action started we share joy and then subsequent conversation. He asked about my foot and I asked him about his leg.
You see, this man was an amputee, having lost his leg from the knee down. I said, “Do you mind if I ask how you lost your leg?” His reply, “In Vietnam.” I thanked him for his service to our nation – as I never fail to recognize that my freedom isn’t free. He dismissed my comment and said, “I was only 19, but I lived through it and I’ve been able to be here and to see our boys (the Royals) win the Series!” I paused, and with greater emphasis said, “Thank you for your service to our nation… and to me.” He paused and quietly replied, “Thank you.”
For the rest of the night we chatted and cheered (and lamented) our “heroes” on the field. All the while I was thinking that this guy (I never learned his name) was the real hero. It was as much fun to watch him as the game. He was such a regular at “the K” that he would wheel himself over to different stadium staff members to chat them up. He was clearing having a great night!
I find the cycle I witnessed particularly interesting and timely for today. This war veteran and amputee looked at a group well-paid men who play a sport, and he claimed them as his heroes. And he did this while downplaying his own status as one.
Maybe this is just how it should be for each of us, on Independence Day and everyday. Seek to live as a hero, while not trying to claim yourself as one. Rather enjoy lifting someone else to that status, so that you can find true joy in living.
Pastor Greg Bouvier heard God’s call to Sheridan in 1999 and that began a journey which has become his life’s work. Having played a variety of roles as pastor of Sheridan, Pastor Greg was called as the Senior Pastor in 2011. He now leads the staff and his primary focus is on the creation of culture, the overall direction of worship and partnering with our amazing team. Pastor Greg has been married to Rose for more than 30 years and together they have two servant-hearted grown children.