When I was a little girl, I loved She-Ra the Warrior Princess. Not only did she have some really cool powers and carry a sword, but she also had an amazing outfit complete with a cape. I thought my life was truly complete when my mom recreated her costume for me one Halloween. I spent hours in that costume imagining I was as awesome as She-Ra. As kids, we love superheroes so much we want to dress like them, pretend we have their powers, and tell all our friends about their newest movie or TV show. Funny enough, we adults do the same thing. The unprecedented success of the Marvel and DC Universe proves that adults also long for a superhero to emulate and celebrate.
What do these shiny superheroes have to offer us mere mortals? For many of us, it is exciting to think we could don a cool costume or uniform and become some better version of ourselves to conquer evil. We idolize characters like Captain America, Iron Man, Batman, and Spiderman for the ultimate good guy persona they represent. But at the end of the day, they all have one thing in common–humanity. They are all human and fallible. Now, I could make a super cheesy "Jesus is our ultimate superhero" connection here, and while that might be true, that is not actually where I am headed. So stay with me, friends.
As believers, our hearts long to matter and make a difference. That is the work of the Spirit in our lives. Jesus is the ultimate example of loving others, serving others, and even laying down His life for others. Our hearts resonate with superheroes who attempt to do the same thing, but what they are missing is the spiritual purpose of a life well-lived for the Lord. When we think about the men and women in the Bible we do not attach superhero status to them. They had no shiny costumes, they seemed to fail more than they succeeded, and they lived in a time period we often cannot relate to. But what they lacked in "coolness" they made up for in faithfulness. While there are many people we could take a closer look at, today, we will take a quick lesson in faithfulness from the prophet, Samuel.
In 1 Samuel 12:24, the prophet Samuel says, "Above all, fear the Lord and worship him faithfully with all your heart; consider the great things he has done for you." This was the message Samuel shared with Israel as he gave his final speech to the nation. Samuel's life was not flashy, but this verse sums up what we are all called to do as believers in Christ–worship the Lord faithfully. Samuel did this in several ways throughout his life.
Samuel listened to the Lord
Samuel's life was an answer to prayer. His mother, Hannah, was barren and when she sought the Lord, He opened her womb and she had Samuel. Hannah had promised to give Samuel back to the Lord and when he entered the service of Eli the priest the Lord came to him and spoke a message. Samuel's response was, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). Our lives should be marked by this same willingness to listen closely to what the Lord has to say.
Samuel spoke the words of the Lord
Samuel obeyed the word of the Lord, even when the message he had to share was harsh. Samuel was required to tell Eli, the priest, that the Lord would punish his family for their sin. He also had to rebuke Saul for offering a sacrifice when it was not his place to offer it. But Samuel also experienced the joy of sharing good news as he anointed David the future king of Israel. Samuel was faithful to share God's message, through the good and the bad. Believers are called to speak the Word in truth to others as well. This might mean calling out sin in the appropriate fashion (Matthew 18:15–20) or speaking encouragement or both.
Samuel remained faithful to the end
Samuel dealt with many difficult people and events during his time as a prophet. But despite those hardships and the stubbornness of Saul and Israel, he remained faithful to the Lord. The words he spoke in his final address to the people represented his own life. When we worship the Lord faithfully and remember all that He has done for us, our lives become a living testimony of His character and goodness. Samuel did not have any superhero powers, but He did have the love of God almighty and he displayed that love to the end.
I will always cherish the memory of my She-Ra cape. But what I long for now, instead of superpowers or a cool costume, is the return of my Savior. While I might not save the planet from demise or conquer all evil, I pray that my life of faithfulness will point others to the only One who has done both of those things. I pray my life is marked by faithfulness just like Samuel. As believers, may others see us as superheroes of the faith, men and women who were ready at a moment's notice to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our lost world. We might not wear capes, but one day we will receive a crown of glory we can place at our Savior's feet. And that will be far better than any superpower we ever hoped to harness.