“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben
As Stan Lee has said: “A… definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them—even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed, without a doubt, a real superhero.”
These are the true people with power and responsibility, who have the potential to be someone’s hero. We are talking about older men and women who have more life experience, are full of knowledge and wisdom, and most importantly, love God and have been walking with Him longer than us.
As Stan Lee puts it, this is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them—even if there is no chance of a reward. Growing up, we have each had these mentors, men and women in our lives who have poured time and wisdom into us and had profound impacts on who we are and how we operate. These people taught us a lot about God, his Word, and encouraged us to grow in our giftings. When thinking of becoming someone who can do this, it is important and good to remember the things that impacted us as younger people, so we can be on the lookout for those opportunities with others in our lives.
This is what we are called to do as believers. Jesus calls the church to go and make disciples; teaching them to obey. How can we make disciples of Jesus without being available to spend time with those who need to be taught and encouraged in their faith?
For example, often when we come across a Christian marriage that is failing, there is a theme of autonomy and seclusion. Where there should be believers they are close with, or an older married couple they can receive wisdom and counsel from, there is no one.
And this is not because they don’t exist. They do. If you are in a season where this isn’t happening, pray for it! It is good and necessary to seek out those who can exhort us, encourage us, remind us of the truth, and share with us their life experience and wisdom. And when it is needed, to rebuke us in love and correct us to help us walk in righteousness.
So what does this look like?
We need to have active relationships with these people: living in consistent fellowship with one another and learning from them. It requires dedication; being intentional about reaching out to someone you want to learn from and spending time with them. It is important to ask questions and listen, so that you can take in their knowledge and wisdom. When you spend time with someone and you build trust, you’re actually able to receive from that person. This can be something more formal and planned, or it can also look like getting together for lunch.
We have also been the ones to invite younger acquaintances and friends to participate in meeting together formally and just pouring into them informally. The key to this is this idea of the older generation and seeing themselves as ones that have a responsibility for the younger, and then also the younger generation being humble and saying, “I’m going to learn from the older generation.”
1 Peter 5:1-5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
When we have these relationships and trust has been built over time, it makes it easier to reach out and ask questions and add to our lives and ourselves the advice or wisdom we receive. We have the power of Christ in us, and with that comes responsibility, and we can use that responsibility to share with others and encourage them in their growth in Christ.