Hungering for Heroes
Read 1 Corinthians 3:3-5
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere human beings? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (TNIV)
We have a longing for heroes. Those who will be shining examples of faith and hope and love. We might project these longings onto certain individuals and begin to believe they have the answers, that they have got it together. We start comparing ourselves with them and coming up short. We admire giants of the faith as if they are over and above the mundane troubling realities of our lives.
This leads to some problems. One is that we lose biblical realism. We fail to grasp the fact that the great ones of faith are not perfect, and whatever faith they have has come through hard times. A reading of Hebrews 11 brings us down to earth.
The other problem is that we begin to despair of our own comparative lack of faith or hope or love. We can never measure up and so put ourselves down as inadequate Christians who haven’t made the grade. Compulsive comparison is the death of true contentment. We all fall short of the glory of God, whether we go by the name of Moses, Abraham, or our own names.
And then we might find ourselves falling into the Corinthian error. The Corinthian Christians seemed to exalt individual personalities. They attached themselves to whoever seemed to be the most impressive leader. They fell prey to a guru mentality. Doing this means we unfairly idealise such leaders so when they prove to be only too human our faith is shattered. And doing this means we take our focus off the one person we can truly look up to: Jesus. If we are to have heroes, make Jesus the one.