Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ordinary Heroes: A Devotional Thought from Ring of Secrets

To correlate with my review of Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White, the publisher was kind enough to send the historical information the book was based on here (read it here) and this small devotional:

We are a people of technology. A people of opinions that are soon emailed, tweeted, posted to our walls, and sent off into the ether for the whole world to see. We are a people in a nation that has been shaken, shocked, stirred, and divided. A nation of poles, where neither side can understand the other. And yet when we see a wound in need of healing, a change in need of making, all we know how to do is update our status...and shrug. What else can we do? How can we effect actual change?

We don’t know. And so we go about our lives and let the world keep on spinning however it will. Then we wonder why we don’t like it’s direction.

This is a problem most of us ponder today, and one with no easy answer. But you know, sometimes answers 
aren't meant to be easy—and sometimes the lessons we need, hard as they are, wait for us in the past.
In 1779, with the Revolution dragging on and Patriot resources all but nonexistent, George Washington looked out over the sea of weary soldiers and knew he needed change. And so he sat at his desk, drew out a vial of invisible ink he had dubbed “the sympathetic stain,” and penned a message to the Culper Ring, his most trusted intelligencers. Then he waited for a word of hope.

Who are these people in whom George Washington placed his trust? They were not trained spies. They were not brilliant strategists. They were not well-equipped scouts. One of them was a farmer. One was a sailor. One was a shopkeeper in the British-held city of New York. There was a soldier willing to make the treacherous ride into the city, and an officer sworn to serve as liaison between them and Washington. The farmer was sickly, the sailor was reckless, the soldier was always late, and the shopkeeper suffered from “black moods” that made him anxious. No super-spies here, no masterminds, no action heroes. Just a motley collection of men willing to risk their lives and reputation for their country. Men who chose to offer what little they had, and in so doing turned the tide of the war.

Despite the image we have of our forefathers rising up united to fight the British, it wasn’t a unanimous decision to revolt. Half the citizens were opposed to independence. And more, convinced that there was no point in trying to secure it, because it was a lost cause. And so they shrugged and went about their lives and wished things could be different.

Sound familiar?

But our forefathers weren't content to leave it at that in 1779, and we ought not be content to do so today.
Our role today, just as theirs was then, is to be exactly where we are, where God has placed us, and to stand up. To be an ordinary hero. One that does what should be done, not in the crisis moment, but in the everyday.

I daresay everyone in the world is happy to do something nice, something good...so long as they didn’t have to go out of their way. Then we have those a step above, the genuinely good people who want to help their neighbors, who run to help you with a door when your hands are full. Who pick up the box you dropped. Who go out of their way for you.

But the ordinary hero—the ordinary hero doesn’t go out of their way to help. Because helping is their way. It’s a subtle but crucial difference, a vital change of perspective. And just think what it could achieve if each and every person stopped thinking about their agenda, about their goals, about their needs and started seeking out opportunity to serve others. If they actively sought, like the members of the Culper Ring did, chances to help.

People today are so busy with all our technology and time-saving devices that, while it’s become easier to hear a call to action, a call to prayer, and think it’s a good idea, we forget to hit the “pause” button on our lives and do it. Still, there are always a few who feel that tug inside so strongly they can’t deny it. A few who fall to their knees. A few who stand up. A few who risk all they have because they know if they don’t, that “all” won’t be worth having anymore.

Who are the few today? Are we content to let it be someone else, pray that someone else steps up...or are we willing to fall to our knees and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me”? Send me into my own life. Send my into my own day-to-day. And show me where to change.

I will be the farmer I have always been, but I will use it for You instead of myself. I will be the shopkeeper with the nervous disorder, but I will put it aside and do what You ask of me. I will make the difficult journey. I will stand up and be a hero exactly where I am. Not for gain, not for advancement, not to escape this place into which You have put me. But because I know that change doesn't start in the capital. It doesn't start in town hall. It doesn't even start in my church.

It starts in me.

The Culpers risked a shameful death, a loss of all they had worked for, to help their would-be nation. They got up each day not knowing what they could do, and not knowing if the Redcoats might knock on their door and put an end to it all. But they got up each day looking. Looking for the chance to serve.Let’s all pray that the Lord opens our eyes to those chances. Let’s not go out of our way, let’s make it our way. Let’s be more than good people.

Let’s be ordinary heroes.