Lenten Devotional: Friday, Feb. 19

by Allison Floyd

Matthew 26:50-52a
And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place …”

The other night, the college students in the Tuesday night Young Adult Bible study at Oconee Street (shameless plug: 7 p.m., Fellowship Hall, invite friends) talked about the difference between heroes and saints. Since we are working our way through themes in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” we were focused on Atticus Finch.

We live in a hero world, where we want to know who made a difference – who rescued the victim, who won the game, who changed the bad statistic. We give medals – and deservedly so – to people who make research breakthroughs that cure disease, save people in war or disaster, or find a solution to a problem that vexes society. Giving credit where it is due is an important part of our culture.

But, in discussing Harper Lee’s attorney, we saw that saints don’t always win. In fact, they rarely win in a conventional way.

Saints do what they do often knowing that change won’t come in their lifetime, but they are called to follow God’s plan anyway. Like Atticus Finch, who defended Tom Robinson knowing he would lose the case, saints look to the bigger victory that doesn’t belong to one person, but to God.

Three of the four Gospels tell us how Jesus’ companion cut off the ear of the guard who came to seize Him, but that Jesus said to stop. A heroic moment of immediate victory wasn’t part of the plan. Jesus demonstrated the difference between a saint and a hero. (This point kinda blew us all away in Bible study, I gotta say.)

PRAYER: Lord, if it be Your will, let me be a hero to someone who needs me. But never let me fail to be a saint just because I don’t see how my role fits into Your plan.