by Andrew McQuitty

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Real Heroes Don't Need Applause (9 of 20)
E. Andrew McQuitty
Acts 4:32-5.11

Half the misery in the world comes from trying to look, instead of trying to be, what one is not (George MacDonald). Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12.28-29).


Introduction: How to be a real hero for God

When I was a kid playing sandlot basketball, I used to imagine myself playing point guard in the seventh game of the NBC Championships. The series was tied, my team was down by two, and six seconds remained as I dribbled the ball upcourt. In my head, I could hear Brent Musberger: He goes left, he breaks right. Head fake. He pulls up at the three-point line. Defender's hand in his face. One second left. He releases the shot. The buzzer sounds as the ball arches upward. Every eye follows the ball. SWISH! He scores! The championship is over! THE CROWD GOES WILD!

It was always that last part that made me get goose bumps. After all, what marked out a true hero if not the adulation of the crowd? Why even compete if not for the applause? There's just something in recognition that the human spirit longs for--a sense of value and worth, a sense of being somebody. We want people to be impressed with us so that we can feel good about who we are. In our own way, each of us wants to be a hero. And so we pursue the cheers.

But real heroes don't need applause. In fact, they see the futility of it. When Michael Jordan retired from basketball last month at the age of thirty, he reminded me of Alexander the Great who wept because he had no more worlds to conquer. He had reached the pinnacle. Nine years in the NBA, seven times scoring champion, three times league MVP, three world championships--with no more mountains to climb, he said goodbye to baske ...

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