Yesterday was our day off, and we were supposed to be at a village for the whole of today and spending the night there, but they had to cancel. Thus we had a second off day in a row, and I was left with little to do. Kevin and I went on a run around town this morning and saw a lot of people. We even had a 70 year old women start running with us for a bit, haha. Everyone gets excited when they see “moondus” (white people) around town. Then after lunch I didn’t know what to do, so I used Kevin’s computer and watched a talk by Donald Miller. He spoke on the idea of story, and how the hero of a story is always someone who works through conflict to achieve whatever it is that is desired. No conflict = bad story. I think he was right on. The thing is, I naturally want to avoid conflict, to live a life free from risk and hardship. Yet this creates a very boring, selfish story.
Then I watched a movie on Kevin’s computer (I was still bored, and there was nothing to do around Arua) called Cinderella Man. It’s about a guy during the Great Depression who is facing the reality of not being able to provide for his family, and on top of that his boxing career is ending, as well as his source of income. He ends up getting one last shot at a fight, wins, then gets another, and another, and keeps on winning until he eventually beats the heavy weight champ. Then he buys a house for his family and their problems are done, so it would seem. Yet aside from him seeming to be a really nice guy and inspiring others, his pursuits were still primarily motivated by self-interest. Does this make a hero? Well it seems like it, and when you watch the movie you are really excited for him. But what about everyone else that remained in dire poverty after his success?
I remember watching a movie called 10,000 BC. There is a quote from it that I will never forget, at least the paraphrase of it as I’m sure I’ll butcher it. But the main character is a young guy whom no one would have seen as a leader. The majority of the people in his tribe were captured and taken as slaves, including the woman he loved, and he decided to go after them. Along the journey, he comes across a wise old man who explains leadership. He says something to the effect of this: “There are different types of men in the world. Average men draw a circle around themselves and that is who they care about and are willing to sacrifice for. Good men draw their circle of responsibility around their family and close loved ones. Great men expand their circle even wider to their village. But the exceptional men, the rare heroes, are those who’s circle has no end.” This young man had to choose who he was willing to fight and die for: just his woman? Just his family? Just his tribe? Or everyone who was enslaved?
I know I want to be the last one, only because that is Who I follow. Jesus’ love knew no bounds, and expands to the ends of the earth. He came down from Heaven to be a man and die for sinners who didn’t deserve it, so how could I do any less? I see that the most heroic men are the ones who willingly enter into suffering, pain, and conflict to help those who may possibly want to kill him, let alone those whom he doesn’t even know. But do I have the courage? Do I have enough belief in the gospel required to fully trust that I am invincible, that I will only die once and then rise again to eternal life? My life must answer that…