Heroes and Leaders by Bob Wickizer

Heroes and Leaders
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Habakkuk 1:1-6[7-11] 12-13;2:1-4 Psalm 37:3-10; 2 Timothy 1:[1-5]6-14 Luke 17:5-10
7 October 2001

Events of the past few weeks and the tragic loss not only of those in the World Trade Center but of the fire and police rescue workers has revealed a new focus on heroism and leadership. We now see great contrasts of heroes from politicians revealing vulnerability to the Orthodox Jew who rescued a Kuwaiti national from certain death after the Jew reached out his hand and called the Arab his "brother." We know that heroism and leadership do not confine themselves to elected office, military rank or wealth but sometimes it takes a bath of cold water to rid us of false ideas about things and bring us to the simple truth that is Only God calls leaders and heroes and anything else is a fraud.

Recalling my own list of heroes and leaders I want to share with you some vignettes of three unlikely people who have literally changed my life. First on the list is my junior high school football coach. Because of my hearing and balance difficulties all through elementary school, I remember the shame of participating in President Kennedy's fitness program and coming in second to last in the six hundred yard run beating only one other classmate who was seriously overweight. But on August 15 before my seventh grade first year in junior high, I decided to go out for the junior high football team.

My friends from the neighborhood were far better athletes but I was determined to give this a try in spite of feeling very inadequate. Those last few months of the sixth grade and the summer following I had grown quite a bit as adolescent boys sometimes seem to sprout like weeds in a spring garden. In the August heat and humidity we gathered in our sparkling new white gym shorts and tee shirts. Each drill the coach put us through left me exhausted but even more determined. I will never forget the moment that the coach asked for my nam ...

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