I’ve spent the last week walking in the paths of courageous men and women, climbing the stairs of those who shaped American history, standing on the platform in churches that shaped American religion, and walking the grounds of some of our most influential institutions of higher education. One of the words that has most often come up this week is courage. Accomplishing what these men achieved required incredible courage. Between this trip and my trip to Washington D.C. 18 months ago, I’ve studied George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Williams, Nathaniel Greene, and James Otis just to name a few.
Many of these names I’ve known since childhood, they are the American heroes that formed our nation. Others, like Roger Williams I studied in my theological studies (more on that in my next post). But some like Nathaniel Green and James Otis were names that only appeared upon closer examination of the events that shaped our revolution. Nathaniel Greene was the man that Washington chose to be his successor should he die in combat. James Otis was an influence on John Adams and a partner of Samuel Adams in the ideas that got the revolutionaries going.
Does their lesser recognition make them any less heroic? Does it change the courage with which these men lived and acted? In that first battle of the Revolutionary War, 4,000 men heeded the call to arms and swelled the ranks of what would become the Continental Army. Are they any less heroic because their names are unsung?
I love spending time with college students and grad students like this. It is such a great reminder of the potential of the American church. The expectant energy and eager anticipation of innovations not yet developed, of songs not yet written, of battles not yet fought… There is so much potential, but it will require an incredible amount of courage to see this ambition come to fruition. But courage is not a necessary trait of the young, it is a necessary quality of all men “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are in desperate need of heroes. We need men and women to be courageous politicians, doctors, teachers & principals, accountants, well techs, maids, cops, lawyers, etc… We are in desperate need of men who will be courageous husbands, laying themselves down for their wives, and fathers, loving their children unconditionally. We are in desperate need of women who will be courageous wives, serving their husbands, and mothers, compassionately caring for their children. We are in desperate need of courageous church members who will share the gospel. We are in desperate need of heroes.
We need people to stop living life trying to avoid “doing bad things” and to live life in courageous pursuit of right. Can you be courageous this week? Your courage may not land you next to Washington in American history, but maybe your courage can inspire a little more courage and who knows…