A Story About My Hero

A local pastor shares a moving story about his personal hero:

You never grow too old to want or need a hero.  Let me tell you a story about mine . . .

Caleb, age 21, works as a cart pusher at Meijer.   He never misses work and always insists on being early.   He is a devoted Star Trek fan.  His loves his niece and nephews wholeheartedly.  He updates his Facebook page every day with notable birthdays and death anniversaries.  (He can tell you almost immediately who was born or died on your birthday.)  He loves God and regularly posts at least one of the Scripture readings from the weekend church service.  He is the fifth of our six children.  And he was born somewhere on the autism scale.

Father’s Day last year found me guest preaching at a local church.  In attendance was my wife and Caleb.  In a totally unscripted moment, I felt moved to invite Caleb to join me up front during the sermon.  I put my arm around him and told the congregation, “This is my hero.”  I continued, “Caleb, is there anything you would like to say to the congregation.”  He proceeded to give a most encouraging and Christ-centered talk.  It was a moving, magical, unforgettable moment for all of us.

Caleb is my hero for any number of reasons:

  • He is a “Colossians 3:23-24 Person” who brings loving passion to whatever he does, connecting it all to faith in Jesus Christ.
  • He genuinely cares about other people, always ready with a kind word or a hug.
  • He is a faithful steward of the gifts God has given to him. His cup always is half full.

Among the lessons my hero has taught me are the following:

  • “Dad” is an amazing and privileged role. Practically every other lifetime achievement or title soon becomes forgotten.  Not “Dad!”
  • “Calebs” exist all around me. Don’t pass up opportunities to notice and encourage people who face challenges and accomplish truly heroic things.
  • Never underestimate the power of uplifting words. Caleb’s most recent project is learning to drive.   Sitting next to him as he navigates a busy stretch of road, I learn how much he values and is affected by what and how I speak to him.

It’s not only dads who can recognize or be heroes to someone.  Powerful, God-given opportunities exist all around us.  Be a Caleb.  Be a hero!

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