Category Archives: integrity

In Search of the Ultimate Hero

Much has been said lately about heroes.  And rightfully so.  The rescue workers rushing headlong into the burning towers to save the thousands trapped there come to mind. 

And then we think about our soldiers and marines who “gave the last full measure of devotion” on a faraway battlefield.   Yesterday I attended the memorial service of Pfc. Jonathan Yanney, who was killed in Afghanistan August 18, 2009, by a roadside bomb.  Jon gave up his life for a cause greater than himself and will always be remembered here in our little town as a hero.  And I will remember him, for I taught him in high school and enjoyed his presence, smile, and integrity.  He was my friend.

And so we all are looking for a hero–someone who would lay down their life for us.  That is what touches our hard and, at times, cynical hearts.  We are wired that way–to be touched when we realize that someone was so selfless as to put others before themselves–someone to face the peril of fires and the danger posed by those with dark designs. 

And so it was yesterday that my heart was touched, remembering the 20 year old soldier, who sat in my class just three years ago, and laughed at my antics as I coaxed him and his classmates into learning the lesson of the day. 

And as I sat there in the service, trying to dam up the warm salt water that fell from my eyes, I learned the lesson of the day.  I thought of Christ and realized that He is the ultimate hero.  For He showed us what love really is. 

He had said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (1).  And in order to express God’s nature, which is Love, He would have to “lay down his life” for His crowning creation, Mankind.  That would show them who and what God is. 

But God, the Immortal One, was just that–immortal, and could not die.  So in His infinite wisdom, He anointed a special human being that would house Him fully and would become the sacrificial Lamb of God and mankind’s anointed King of kings. 

This man was the Anointed One, the One appointed by the Father to do a very heroic act.  He would be referred to as Christ–Christos in the Greek, meaning the anointed one. 

Yes, Christ is our Hero.  He showed what love is by laying down His life willingly for us.  It is His selfless sacrifice for others that still touches man’s heart, that still shakes the flimsy foundations of our lives, that still speaks to us 2,000 years later. 

Christ is our Great Hero, for all the prophets testify about Him, that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name (2).  All because He loved us and laid down His life for His friends.     KWH

  1. John 15: 13
  2. Acts 10: 43

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Filed under Christ, cross, death, integrity, Love from Above

Blessed Are the Poor–The Cardboard Cage

     Utter desperation does not bring out the worst in people; it brings out what they are inside.  Good or bad.  You’ll have looters and rioters during disasters revealing their dark thieving hearts.  But others will suffer their plights with an astounding amount of integrity.  I know this first hand.

     It was 1973, and my wife Linda and I were down in Northern Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains near the town of Galeana.  We were traveling by van on a deserted dusty road, trying to find a village in the mountains.  We had heard there was a famine up in those parts, and we wanted to help.

     In the back of our old Chevy van we had commodities—several sacks of dry beans, rice and corn—foodstuffs we were going to deliver to the needy.  We had been driving all day on rock roads; it was getting late, and we still could not find the village.  We were lost with no idea where the village was.

       All of a sudden, we came to a dead end; big boulders were blocking the way.  “Guess I’ll back up here and turn around,” I said to Linda. And as I turned around to look out of my side window, a man appeared.  It was as if he had just materialized out of nowhere.  He was the light brown color of the rocks and dust.  His face was wan and gaunt, and he had a look in his countenance that was past sincere; it was desperate. 

     I looked back at Linda as if to ask, “What do I do now?”  And her look back said, “Don’t look at me.”  I looked back at him and noticed that more people had materialized.  A dozen people stood just behind him now.  Before I could ask him in Spanish what he wanted, he held up a small cardboard box about the size of a cracker box.

       He looked me straight in the eyes and moaned in a mournful cry, “Pan! Pan! Pan!”  And each time he said that word, he would push the box a little closer to me.  I turned to Linda and said, “Oh, my God, Linda.  He’s saying “bread.” 

     I looked at the box; it was alive.  From within, it hummed and fluttered and scratched.  And then I saw the slits in the side of the box and realized that he held a bird in a cardboard cage, and he was wanting to trade it for bread!

       We immediately got out of the van.  We now knew why we had made the wrong turn onto this desolate dead end road.  We knew clearly for whom the food was meant.  We walked around the van, opened the back doors and invited them to it.  As the man’s companions carried the food away, he held up the bird in the box, sincerely wanting me to take the bird, thus completing the trade.  I looked at him and told him that I couldn’t do it.  He then turned and walked on up the mountain to join his friends.         Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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