Who is your hero? How do you allow that person to influence your life? After watching West Virginia University give the Louisville Cardinals a fantastic challenge I decided that Alex Ruoff, a senior at WVU, is a hero.
I realize that Alex did not score a point during his senior night and his final game in Morgantown. Yes. He accumulated a lot of fouls and spent most of the game on the bench. I cannot imagine Ruoff's disappoint. I would have understood if he would have stomped his foot, yelled at an official or uttered words that I cannot put into print. Who would have blamed him if he sat on the bench with his head down? Yet, this man chose the high road.
Every time Ruoff was shown sitting on the bench, I noticed that he was deeply involved in the game. He was cheering his teammates and no doubt analyzing Louisville's strategy. Alex even stood at one point and encouraged the crowd by waving his arms. I felt as if Alex Ruoff had decided that he was going to put his disappointments and frustrations on the back burner and do everything possible for his team. If he could not score a three-pointer and break a school record, he was going to be the best cheerleader in the coliseum. He was putting his concerns aside the sake of others.
I think we need to be very careful in selecting our heroes. Anyone who lives a very self-centered life is not worthy of hero status. However, a person who lives his or her life helping others is worthy of such status.
While serving as a campus pastor, a colleague was standing in the cafeteria line. He overheard one student say to another, "Don't worry about the biology final. I have the questions." My friend realized that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we have the questions to our final exam.
Jesus told us that on the day of his return, the nations would be gathered before him and separated as the shepherd separates the sheep and goats. One group will hear Jesus invite them into the heavenly kingdom because he was hungry and they fed him, naked and they clothed him, thirsty and they gave him water, and imprisoned and they visited him. Jesus taught that the invited group will be so taken by his words that they will ask "When did we see you in such dire circumstances?" Jesus will reply that when they did it to the very least of his people, they did it to him. Jesus was encouraging his followers to push their interest aside for the sake of others.
Alex Ruoff is not my only hero. Our community is blessed with a growing number of congregations and individuals who are providing a free meal for those in need. These heroic people have determined that the only one capable of determining a need is the individual who walks into the dining room. Their need may be visible or invisible. They may need food, fellowship or a safe environment. These heroes have also put their trust in Jesus Christ, who enables them to do all things.
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)